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Electrical Trades Union members will strike for a wage deal that keeps pace with living costs that have skyrocketed since the pandemic.
ETU NSW/ACT secretary Allen Hicks said, “These privatised energy operators are raking it in, while workers’ pay has plummeted in real terms.
“Workers simply cannot afford to keep going backwards. Pay rises have moved at half the rate of the inflation. Take-home pay is shrinking.”
The protected industrial action will push out the maintenance backlog and disrupt operations at Transgrid’s 900km $2.3 billion electricity interconnector, EnergyConnect.
“We’ll continue ramping up industrial action until these bosses agree to sit down and agree to a pay deal that recognised the surging cost of living,” Hicks said.
“The deal we are after for members will help energy workers catch up. Inflation is coming under control, and workers need a fair go.”
An Endeavour Energy spokesperson said, “Endeavour Energy has been working closely and in good faith with our employees to negotiate a new Enterprise Agreement (EA) while balancing a strong commitment to constrain business costs in customers’ interests.
“Our priority, as always, is the safety of our employees, customers and the community. We have contingency plans in place to limit the impact of industrial action on customers and will continue to focus on our core service to deliver a safe and reliable supply of electricity to customers.
“Our discussions on the enterprise agreement continue and we are committed to working constructively with our employees throughout this process.
“Given the current economic conditions, we feel fortunate to put forward a proposal to our employees that is fair and reasonable and recognises the important work they do each day.
“Our offer includes wage increases over a three-year period with an up-front payment of $1000, followed by fair pay increases of 5.25% from 1 July 2024, a 3.25% increase from 1 July 2025 and a 2.75% increase from 1 July 2026. By comparison, the unions are seeking an 8% pay increase year on year and have included a log of 65 other claims.
“We do not believe the unions requested pay increases and other claims are sustainable.”
A Transgrid spokesperson said, “Our first priority remains the safety of our people, the network, and the community.
“We aim to achieve a timely resolution to the negotiations to ensure we can continue to deliver a safe, reliable and resilient energy system for consumers.
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“We will continue to progress discussions in good faith towards finalising an agreement that is in the best interests of our people, customers and consumers.”