This month ETU delegates and officers gathered in Fremantle, WA for the National Power Industry Delegates Conference. The conference was a great success, bringing together unionists from all over Australia to share their experiences and learnings with fellow comrades.
The conference debated important issues in the power industry, with resolutions formed to tackle them as a union.
Security of Critical Infrastructure (SOCI) Act 2018
The conference discussed proposed updates to national security legislation rules that risk unnecessarily infringing upon the privacy rights of electrical workers, particularly in the power industry.
Delegates noted the Union’s progress so far in advocating for the protection of workers’ privacies in relation to the SOCI Act, and resolved to continue fighting unsatisfactory rules and changes to the Act with respect to privacy, financial records, personal data, civil and criminal history, disciplinary issues, compliance matters, and employment related matters of members.
Support for Health and Safety Representatives
The conference spoke about the need for increased support to WHS representatives, such as essential information prompt cards and video resources with more comprehensive information.
There was discussion about the need to review all employers’ procedures including for entering private property, working remotely and Single Person work.
ETU delegates debated the use of tracking by employers, and took the position that the use of any electronic data and GPS tracking by employers should not be used to initiate or support any disciplinary matters against members or potential members.
International solidarity with CGT France on public ownership of energy and pension reform
Conference attendees debated the importance of international solidarity and pledged their support to trade unions in their fight around the globe.
French trade union Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT) is fighting to return control of its energy sector into public hands, after a poorly and unfairly regulated system is resulting in higher prices for consumers, little to no job creation and a market that refuses to take industrial risks and invest in the industry for the long term.
Nearly 3,000,000 French people are fighting against proposed reforms to the national pension, which would see the legal retirement age increase from 62 to 64.
The French government wants to do this as a cost saver for their budget, instead of exploring other options like removing company exemptions from making pension contributions or reducing working hours to 32 hours per week which would lead to the creation of 1.7 million jobs in the private sector, generating 13.6 billion euros in pension contributions.
ETU and CEPU delegates noted that we are confronted by similar attacks in relation to the liberalisation of the Australian power industry, our campaign to re-nationalise the industry to one of public service, and the domestic attacks on retirement age and superannuation by conservative forces. We believe that international cooperation is essential to protect and advance the cause of workers.
IT was a fantastic conference with important discussion and outcomes. Thank you to all who attended and contributed their voices to the discussions.
Stay tuned for outcomes from the ETU National Lift Conference in the next edition!