ETU NSW celebrates huge win for members in construction in ongoing campaign

Nicholas McCallum

Members say 'It's Time' after Sydney construction EBA breakthrough.  

In May, ETU members employed by Fredon at Sydney’s NorthConnex project won a breakthrough union EBA after weeks of industrial action amid on ongoing campaign in the city’s construction industry.

The win came days after the company was forced into a humiliating backdown for unlawfully sending ETU members home without pay because they were wearing union gear.

Workers at NorthConnex and Central Station were given marching orders in May for wearing union material and taking two breaks as part of their campaign for an EBA with the electrical contractor.

The heavy-handed move forced an immediate response from the ETU’s National Senior Legal Counsel Alana Heffernan who reminded Fredon the ETU and its members “did everything right in notifying Fredon about plans to wear union-affiliated clothing”.

“Fredon knew it was wrong to have sent workers home without pay because they were exercising their right to wear union-related clothing,” she said.

Following the legal threat, Fredon quickly agreed to pay its unlawfully stood-down employees in full for the day.

ETU members employed by Fredon at NorthConnex celebrate their groundbreaking EBA with a union BBQ at Pennant Hills.

ETU NSW and ACT Secretary Justin Page congratulated members on standing together in the face of employer intimidation.

“Electrical workers are rightly proud of being ETU. Our members have the right to take these actions in pursuit of improvements to wages and conditions,” he said.

“The company was so badly in the wrong it had no choice but to back down. This is another win for electrical workers in the industry-wide campaign for good union agreements.”

 ETU members at Dynamite Electrical say ‘It’s Time’ to lift industry standards across Sydney construction.

As well as the significant pay rise, the NorthConnex agreement included:

· $3.75 per hour site allowance

· $2 per hour productivity allowance

· Improved travel time arrangements, and

· A range of other improvements to conditions.

All gains will be back paid to 1 January as part of the new deal, which included apprentice rates for directly hired apprentices, a massive win for the industry.

Members employed by Heyday on WestConnex M5 met with ETU organisers Stewart Edward and Nick Bligh to discuss their upcoming Protected Action Ballot. On show are the new t-shirts for our ‘It’s Time’ construction campaign.

Fredon committed to meaningful ongoing negotiations to reach an acceptable single union agreement covering all Sydney Construction and Service employees.

This outcome was achieved because ETU members took resolute and sustained action and maintained solidarity across Sydney despite company efforts to divide and conquer.

Now the fight continues to get the same standards of pay affirmed in the EBA across the Sydney construction industry.

The fight continues, with ETU members in Sydney construction saying “It’s Time” for decent EBAs that lift standards across the industry.

ETU members at the M5 WestConnex tunnel back our campaign for union EBAs that lift standards across the industry.

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