It’s been a year of wins for the ETU and CEPU. We’ve shown what we are made of in the political and industrial realms. When we unite behind something, we are a force to be reckoned with! Here are just some of our highlights nationally.
Workplace law wins
In 2022 the first tranche of the Albanese Government’s workplace law reform, named Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill passed. These laws abolished the ABCC and the Building Code along with many other benefits. The second tranche, called the Protecting Workers’ Entitlements Bill passed in June 2023, improving access to different types of leave and the right to superannuation for all workers. In December 2023, part 1 of the Closing the Loopholes Bill passed, taking action on labour hire, wage theft, unsafe exposure to silica, improving delegates rights and much more.
The union movement launched the ‘Stop the Deadly Dust’ campaign against the scourge of deadly silica exposure. The campaign made lots of progress, resulting in a ban on engineered stone containing silica in December in most states and territories, plus a ban on importing the deadly material. This ban will save lives!
All over the country we’ve taken the fight for better wages and conditions to hundreds of companies, negotiating stronger EBAs with good wages and conditions. A few highlights include major companies like Chevron, Woodside, Laminex, Evoenergy, EnerSys, Grange Resources, and much more.
After over a decade of campaigning from the grassroots up, we finally secured a budget that invests in a just transition for workers and their communities on the road to net zero emissions. A new energy transition authority — called the National Net Zero Authority — is charged with delivering a just transition to a net zero emissions economy. It will help ensure no worker or community is left behind.
The ETU successfully led a motion at the ALP National Conference on an ‘Australian Industry Policy’ which includes similar commitments to the US’ inflation reduction act. A commitment to investing 2-3% of GDP (AUD $54-78B/ USD$35-51B) towards the transformation of Australia’s economy towards renewable energy, clean industry, and good quality union jobs. This is a similar investment percentage of GDP to the US, Europe and Canada.
The ETU also led a resolution at the ALP conference calling for the development of New Energy Best Practice Principles. The principles are to be applied to all new energy generation, transmission, and storage projects that require government funding or regulatory approvals. These principles call for high standards on safety, training, local procurement, wages and conditions, secure employment, First Nations engagement and opportunities and the use and treatment of migrant labour.
The ETU Exposed shocking conditions on project energy connect which is the largest renewable transmission project in the country. We’re fighting hard to get an agreement that looks after workers over the line.
In NSW ETU members campaigned hard to return a pro-worker Labor Government to power after 12 years of Liberals.
Apprentice Skills and training
The ETU has had a major focus this year on advocating to political decision-makers for better training, education and skills support for workers and apprentices. We led a delegation of apprentices to speak their truth in the halls of power in Canberra. Our apprentices asked for better support to improve completion rates of electrical apprentices. We’ve shared their stories and experiences in the media and through our platforms and networks. The message is clear, the government must invest in our apprentices and train up the next generation urgently. This is to avoid an even bigger skills shortage in the electrical trades.
We’ve also commenced with Powering Skills Australia. This is a jobs and skills council focused on the electrical trades and workforce training and skills.
ETU members speak up
The ETU stood by its First Nations Members in the campaign to have their voice heard by federal politicians when making decisions that affect them. Unfortunately, the Murdoch media and Coalition ran a campaign of lies and misinformation to encourage people to vote no. They scared people into thinking the Voice (an advisory body) could be a negative thing for our country. The resulting no vote was a tragedy. We continue to stand with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in this difficult moment in the nation’s history. We must keep working to improve the situation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, in the workplace, and beyond.
All of these wins show what we can achieve when we work together. Thanks to all of you for your efforts and your support this year of each other and the trade. Together, we are the mighty ETU!