Union ramps-up pressure on industry super funds following Ausgrid CEO’s resignation

Electrical Trades Union

Ausgrid workers will down tools this morning for the first mass meeting since Ausgrid CEO Richard Gross announced he will retire next year, amid pressure from the ETU to stop job cuts, a proposed pay freeze and a plan to force parents on to shift work.

The ETU has welcomed Gross’ departure and called for him to recuse himself from Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) negotiations and related decisions.

The union is now asking Ausgrid to use the announcement of Gross’ departure as a circuit breaker to reset EBA negotiations.

“This is an opportunity for Ausgrid to end its aggressive approach, to make a fair offer and to cease docking the pay of workers who take legally protected industrial action,” said Allen Hicks, Secretary, Electrical Trades Union, NSW & ACT Branch.

“The ETU calls on Ausgrid and its industry super fund owners, to stop the ongoing attack on workers and offer a fair pay rise, as well as passing on nationally legislated super increases starting at 0.5 per cent this year.”

More than 20,000 emails have been sent to the CEOs at AustralianSuper and IFM, since the ETU launched its multi-platform advertising and digital campaign last week.

If a fair pay rise and job security are not offered, the ETU will escalate both its industrial and media campaign targeting Ausgrid and its owners.

Separately, Endeavour Energy members will this morning vote to approve in principle an EBA with a minimum 2.5 per cent pay rise in the first year, and rising to 2.8 per cent per year over three years – plus annual 0.5 per cent super increases, which Ausgrid refuses to pay.

Endeavour Energy is part-owned by REST Industry Super.

“If approved, Endeavour Energy’s EBA will set an industry standard other companies across the sector, and their industry super fund owners, will not be able to ignore,’ said Allen Hicks.

“Ausgrid will no longer be able to claim a wage freeze as a fair offer, while also proceeding with its plan to cut a total of 2,500 jobs by next year.

“We will continue with our multi-platform advertising and digital campaign, and escalate lawful industrial action.

“Ausgrid’s owners, AustralianSuper and IFM, must now urge Ausgrid board members to listen to its workers and hundreds of customers who have contacted the ETU with messages of support.

“There are concerns across the labour movement and among members of AustralianSuper and IFM about the ethics and values of their super funds.

“These industry funds are built on workers’ capital and their refusal to stand up for workers’ basic rights such as a fair pay rise is outrageous.

“Supporters, our members and members of these industry funds can visit www.dontswitchoffjobs.com.au to tell Australian Super and IFM to stand up for workers.”

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