What a year for the ETU!

2022 has been massive – and the mighty ETU played no small part in changing the course of the future. We’ve achieved so much together. Check out some of the highlights of this year below. click the links for more info on each story.

Wins for workers’ rights

The Albanese Government’s Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill passed, meaning the first tranche of promised reform to Australian Industrial laws is now a reality. The laws included expanding access to multi-employer bargaining, better job security and closing loopholes that allowed employers to terminate agreements during the bargaining process.

We won back over $800K for underpaid migrant workers in SA. Read more about this story in the 2022 yearbook, page 56.

The government implemented all 55 recommendations of the Respect@work report, including 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave for all Australians. Unions fought for this outcome for many years.

We said goodbye to the ABCC and Building Code forever, ensuring construction workers have the same rights as everyone else.

Wins in government

Federally we got rid of the anti-worker Morrison Government and voted in a government that promises to make life better for working people. We also booted out the SA Liberal Government and re-elected the pro-worker Labor Victorian Government.

Advocating for members

The ETU represented members at the federal Jobs and Skills Summit in September, gaining significant outcomes for electrical workers and apprentices.

We launched the  Powering Australia Skills Plan with energy industry stakeholders so that our government understands how Australia can support the highly-skilled and trained workforce we will depend on to deliver our energy future.

ETU Assistant National Secretary Dave Mier had the honour of presenting at the 110th International Labour Organization Conference in Geneva. Dave spoke about setting international standards for apprenticeships and delivering opportunities to improve their lot in life.

We held a hugely successful industry conference with delegates from all over Australia and guests from electrical unions around the world. At the conference we signed a Global Federation Agreement with our comrades in Irish union Connect. The ETU also endorsed the campaign for the YES vote on the Voice to Parliament. We also held a fantastic National Officer’s Conference after three years of separation.

Because of pressure from the ETU, the former government committed $6M in funding to address mental health concerns among FIFO workers. The money will go to Mates in Construction to expand their network of professionals and trained volunteers on work sites.

The ETU ran a nation-wide survey of amenities, revealing shockingly low access and standards of bathrooms in the electrical trades,. The survey was part of the Nowhere to Go campaign. 

We helped maintain the integrity of the electrical license in the face of automatic mutual recognition laws. These laws threatened to water down safety regulations nationally.

The ETU QLD NT branch launched its SET FIRE TO LABOUR HIRE campaign.

Apprentice skills and training

The Albanese Government committed to funding 180,000 fee-free TAFE places with 300,000 more in 2024 and 10,000 new energy apprentices in their very first budget.

We surveyed hundreds of electrical apprentices and found that a lack of proper mentorship and low wages are causing more than a third of apprentices to think about quitting. We’re now working hard on an apprentice mentoring model to replace the current government-controlled one.

Shaping the future of our electricity grid and ownership around Australia

The Victorian Andrew’s government pledged to bring back the State Electricity Commission (SEC) and was elected for a third term.

The SA ALP government resolved to investigate the cost and benefits of SA returning to a level of public ownership of the electricity system.

ETU QLD NT State Secretary Peter Ong signed the Palaszczuk Government’s Energy Workers Charter. This charter is the first of its kind anywhere in the world. The Workers Charter looks after workers in the transition to renewable energy.

We launched a campaign to stop the cuts to electricity grid maintenance. The Albanese Government has committed at least $20B to upgrade the grid.

Major EBA wins

After a two-year battle that culminated in 76 days of industrial action, members from the ETU in WA and the Offshore Alliance voted up an enterprise agreement with Shell on the Prelude FLNG facility.

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

Workers at SA Power Networks/Enerven achieved a good enterprise agreement after two years fighting for a fair go.

Community work

Members went above and beyond to assist flood-affected communities in NSW and QLD.

ETU and CEPU members united across borders to support communities in SA after violent storms.

We also celebrated 120 years of the ETU in Victoria and NSW. Our Union has come so far and has an incredible future ahead of it. Thanks to all of you for your efforts this year. Every member has an essential part to play in making the mighty ETU what it is today and tomorrow. Only through working together, do we achieve a better future for all.

The future is bright, but only if it’s lit by the ETU!

Read more ETU news

This article was publised on 19 December 2022.