Western Power workers show their employer the power of unionism!

After two years of solid campaigning and bargaining, workers at Western Power proved they are a force to be reckoned with and won improved wages and conditions in a new Enterprise Agreement.

Workers faced lockouts, a smear campaign and took multiple rounds of industrial action for the first time in twenty years to get an offer they could accept.

Some of the key wins in the new agreement include strong commitments on job security, work in-house, redundancy provisions and consultation around the work contractors will perform or receive.

Members will receive an extra $2 per hour site allowance inclusive of travel, an electrical license allowance of $28.33 per week, plus a range of other extra payments for things such as remote accommodation and live work allowance for plant operators as well as live line stick workers.

The workers will also receive a $2000 sign on bonus and yearly increases of 2.75% for two years.

Workers will also have more power to decide when the weather is too extreme to continue working, instead of a supervisor in a climate-controlled office making the call.

The two-year campaign saw union density at Western Power increase from 72% to 94%. Two thirds of the membership had never taken industrial action before, so it was a dramatic learning curve for them. The members stood strong, and the ETU won legal battle after battle in court.

A lesson in unionism

After telling its workforce that industrial action was pointless, union members engaged in the toughest negotiations in Western Power’s history – and won!

Over two years Western power was schooled in unionism and learned a lesson on how important workers on the ground are. By the end of the two years Western Power lost:


1 Executive

2 heads of HR

2 Supervisors

ETU WA Organiser Brendan Reeve ran the campaign and said it was a highlight of his time with the Union:

“In my years as a Union Official this campaign will go down as one of my proudest and I am sure my members see it the same way.  We can’t put our feet up and rest on our laurels as the struggle will always be there, and we have a whole new group of grubby contractors who need the same lessons,” he said.

“Thank you to all my members and delegates who supported me and each other to get the result they deserved – the patience and resolve after two years was outstanding – bring on EBA 2024.”

This article was publised on 30 August 2022.