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Workers say no to Energex offer

STANDING FIRM: ETU state organiser Stuart Traill is backing the workers at Energex.
STANDING FIRM: ETU state organiser Stuart Traill is backing the workers at Energex. Rob Williams

THE DEVIL is in the detail.

And that is why Electrical Trades Union (ETU) state organiser Stuart Traill said electricity workers had emphatically rejected the enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) offered by power companies Energex, Powerlink and Ergon.

There was a 70% no vote in Powerlink on Friday, followed by 64% of Energex staff and 72% of Ergon rejecting the offer of a 2.75% pay rise annually with a one-off job security clause.

Mr Traill said the offer would make members - 134 of whom work for Energex in Raceview, Esk and Gatton - $10,000 worse-off annually.

He said the EBA on offer removed penalty provisions for working on live wires in the rain.

"That would be a significant reduction in the take home annual income for our members that are expected to work in some of the most atrocious conditions this state can dish up," he said.

Mr Traill said the offer from the companies loosened protections surrounding the use of contractors and that it would open up the possibility of them using overseas workers on cheaper wages in the future.

He said the offer was also unfavourable to apprentices.

The workers were prepared to accept a pay freeze if key conditions were not removed from the EBA.

Energex CEO Terry Effeney said in an internal memo that "with the proposed agreement voted down, the initial package is no longer available and I cannot confirm that the business' next offer will be as favourable".

"It is difficult to define how long the next round of negotiations are likely to take," he said.

Powerlink Queensland chief executive Merryn York said the organisation considered its pay offer was "fair for our employees, our business and Queensland electricity consumers" and the company would "recommence negotiations in 2015".

Topics:  electrical trades union energex enterprise bargaining agreement ergon etu powerlink



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