18 August 2021
Electrical Trades Union to join droves of Territory workers taking strike action
Electrical Trades Union (ETU) members at PowerWater and Territory Generation (TGen) will be the next public sector workers to take protected action as government continues pushing four-year wage freeze.
The ETU has joined public sector unions in protesting the proposed wage freeze for the past year. Workers have been involved in enterprise bargaining negotiations with PowerWater since March 2021, when the ETU began campaigning against the four-year pay freeze.
“We’ve been back and forward with PowerWater for close to 18 months, and with Territory Generation since March this year. Workers have voted ‘no’ to the offer multiple times. We are not going to accept it and we won’t back down. The government must come to the table with a fair offer,” says Dave “Strawbs” Hayes, ETU Organiser.
“We’re now preparing to take industrial action,” says Mr Hayes. “The cost of living continues to rise, and our public sector workers are being offered a pay freeze, which is an effective pay cut given increasing CPI here in the Territory.
“The offer is an insult to workers who have kept the lights on and the water safe. These are front line workers and the government refuses to even bargain in good faith. The proposed wage freeze has consequences beyond the four-year period. Even if workers see pay rises on the fifth year, they will be way behind, as will their super. It will affect all workers, and especially those heading toward retirement.”
Territory firefighters and correctional officers have taken strike action across the Territory in recent weeks, and other unions are set to follow suit. The ETU, alongside other public sector unions, will take protected action in the coming weeks to communicate to the government that the offer isn’t near good enough.
“For our members in TGen and PowerWater, one of the huge problems is a lack of staff. Our teams are understaffed, and this continues to go ignored by government. There simply aren’t enough boots on the ground, and the response has been an effective pay cut for existing staff. It’s a slap in the face for workers.
“There is no urgency from the Government to tackle the issues at hand in addressing resourcing concerns, outstanding bargaining claims and the four-year wage freeze that is in place. The government is showing that offering fair conditions for public sector workers is not a priority,” says Mr Hayes.
The Northern Territory recorded a 2.1% increase to CPI in Darwin during the quarter ending in June 2022, and 6.6% in the past year. Darwin, tied with Brisbane and Adelaide, saw the highest increase this quarter. Workers who are struggling to keep up with increased bills and costs are now being offered an effective wage cut.
For more information, please call Dave “Strawbs” Hayes on 0419 721 042 or Kristin Perissinotto on 0448 633 858.