Since Ausgrid CEO, Richard Gross, announced his imminent retirement in 2022 unions have been ramping up pressure on Ausgrid to reset Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) negotiations, as well as industry super funds to improve job security and pay.
The Electrical Trades Union of Australia (ETU), has welcomed Mr Gross’ departure, asking Ausgrid to use the departure as a circuit breaker to reset EBA negotiations.
The ETU has also requested Mr Gross to recuse himself from EBA negotiations and related decisions, as the ETU advocates to stop job cuts, a proposed pay freeze and a plan to force parents on to shift work.
More than 20,000 emails have been sent to the CEOs at AustralianSuper and IFM, since the ETU launched its multi-platform advertising and digital campaign.
If a fair pay rise and job security are not offered, the ETU has threatened to escalate both its industrial, and media campaign, targeting Ausgrid and its owners.
Allen Hicks, Secretary, ETU NSW & ACT Branch, said, “This is an opportunity for Ausgrid to end its aggressive approach, to make a fair offer and to cease docking the pay of workers who take legally protected industrial action.
“The ETU calls on Ausgrid and its industry super fund owners, to stop the ongoing attack on workers and offer a fair pay rise, as well as passing on nationally legislated super increases starting at 0.5 per cent this year.”
Separately, Endeavour Energy members will vote to approve in principle an EBA with a minimum 2.5 per cent pay rise in the first year, and rising to 2.8 per cent per year over three years – plus annual 0.5 per cent super increases, which Ausgrid has refused to pay.
Endeavour Energy is part-owned by REST Industry Super.
“If approved, Endeavour Energy’s EBA will set an industry standard other companies across the sector, and their industry super fund owners, will not be able to ignore,” Mr Hicks said.
“Ausgrid will no longer be able to claim a wage freeze as a fair offer, while also proceeding with its plan to cut a total of 2,500 jobs by next year.
“We will continue with our multi-platform advertising and digital campaign, and escalate lawful industrial action.”
Mr Hicks also said that Ausgrid’s owners, AustralianSuper and IFM, must now urge Ausgrid board members to listen to its workers and hundreds of customers who have contacted the ETU with messages of support.
Stating there are concerns across the labour movement and among members of AustralianSuper and IFM about the ethics and values of their super funds.
“These industry funds are built on workers’ capital and their refusal to stand up for workers’ basic rights such as a fair pay rise is outrageous,” Mr Hicks said.
“Supporters, our members and members of these industry funds can visit www.dontswitchoffjobs.com.au to tell Australian Super and IFM to stand up for workers.”