In September, The ETU represented members at the federal Jobs and Skills summit, gaining significant outcomes for electrical workers and apprentices.
The summit was attended by the government, politicians, unions, employer and business representatives and community groups, and ‘electrician’ was the most mentioned occupation over the two days.
Here are some of the wins for members from the two-day summit:
Industrial relations Minister Tony Burke committed to multi-employer bargaining without caveats (i.e. not restricted to low paid or funded services). This is a really important win for our members. Applying the same agreement to different companies in the same sector is one way to unite and protect workers in renewables where projects are often too short to go through an enterprise bargaining campaign process. It will help give those workers better access to the enterprise bargaining system.
The Albanese Government committed to creating a National Construction Industry Forum to drive cultural change in the construction industry. This forum would be a tripartite body of employers unions and government designed to address issues like poor mental health in the construction industry, and to increase the participation of women, First Nations workers and workers from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds who have traditionally been shut out. This forum will strengthen our construction workforce, and help address the growing skills and worker shortage we are currently experiencing. It will innovate and disseminate the best practices in work health and safety.
Watch the video of ETU Acting National Secretary speaking about the construction industry forum at the summit.
At the National Jobs and Skills Summit, the Albanese Government committed toan additional $1 billion in joint Federal-State funding for fee-free TAFE in 2023 and accelerated delivery of 465,000 fee-free TAFE places, 180,000 to begin next year.
The government will also work with unions explore options to improve the apprenticeship support system and drive‑up completion rates.
The government also announced at the Summit as an immediate action that the Commonwealth and South Australian Government will co‑chair a South Australian Defence Industry Workforce and Skills Taskforce to support delivery of Australia’s defence capabilities, including critical maritime capabilities such as frigates and submarines.
With the Summit done, we’ve now moved into:
- negotiations over the industrial relations bill, which is likely to be introduced into Parliament in October or November and aiming to be passed by the end of the year
- negotiations over allocations for the October federal budget – the ETU is asking for energy apprentices to be prioritised so we can get more electrical apprentices starting this year
- commencing work to protect the rights of local workers and strengthen local training as part of a sector model for temporary migration
- contributing to policy around the “electrification of everything”.
It’s a great time to be an electrical worker, so watch this space!