Upcoming Protected Action Ballot

Urgent Update:

  • Our Protected Action Ballot is due to open on Thursday, 22 February 2024 and will close at 2:00pm on Monday, 4 March 2024.
  • Vote ‘Yes’ to each ballot question to provide us the leverage needed to deliver the workplace conditions Powerlink workers deserve.
As you know, we have been engaged in negotiations for your new Enterprise Agreement since August 2023.

Significant efforts have been made by our Union, along with the ETU and Professionals Australia, to deliver the workplace conditions that our Powerlink members deserve, as well as the conditions needed to attract and retain the workers needed to complete the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan (QEJP).

Powerlink is set to play a critical role in the QEJP and energy transition and will need to rapidly increase its staff to meet the demands arising from this body of work. As such, our Union has consistently campaigned for a new Agreement that will attract and retain top end talent.

Whilst we have been able to achieve some positive outcomes for our members already, there are a number of key outstanding claims that need to be resolved.

Powerlink continue to maintain that they are either opposed to these outstanding claims and/or are unable to agree to them due to restrictions imposed on them by the State Government through the GOC Wages Policy.

As your current Enterprise Agreement expires on 29 February 2024, our Union, along with the ETU and Professionals Australia, have determined that it is necessary to take Protected Industrial Action to deliver the conditions Powerlink members deserve.  

Protected industrial action is a legal form of action taken by employees and their unions during bargaining for a new enterprise agreement.

You can access our facsheet about Protected Industrial Action by clicking on this link.

Protected Action Ballot and Important Dates

In order for our Union to be able to proceed with protected industrial action, our members must participate in a protected action ballot and the following conditions must be met:

  1. at least 50% of the employees listed on the voter roll take part in the ballot; and
  2. more than 50% of the valid votes cast support the approval of the Protected Industrial Action.

As noted above, our Union's protected action ballot will open Thursday, 22 February 2024 and close at 2:00pm on Monday, 4 March 2024.

We ask that you vote in the ballot to have your say!

You will be asked a number of questions in the ballot around protected industrial action. We encourage you to vote ‘Yes’ to each question, even if the question is not applicable to you and your work practices, to provide us with the leverage needed to deliver the workplace conditions you deserve. 

Voting ‘Yes’ does not require you as an individual to take the requisite action immediately, it simply provides our Union with the ability to take that action in the future.

We have an information sheet about the questions you will be asked, which can be accessed by clicking this link. 

Our Protected Action Ballot will be conducted by an organisation registered with the Fair Work Commission called CiVS, who will be contacting you by text message and email. Please ensure you keep an eye out for their correspondence.

Key Outstanding Claims

We know Powerlink has been sending out regular communications that try to paint their current proposed package for a new Enterprise Agreement in a positive light.

As such, you might be asking yourself: why haven’t the Unions reached in principle agreement?

The current problem from our Union’s perspective is twofold:

  1. There is very little that would significantly benefit the majority of our members in the current package put forward by Powerlink. If you review the list of outstanding claims below as well as the claims that have been already agreed, this will become clear; and
  2. The current proposal is less than what is currently offered or will be offered by other comparative employers.  If the current proposal is accepted, Powerlink is likely to have lower pay and less favourable conditions than other employers in our industry who are also competing for talent. This would include Energy Queensland, who are currently negotiating their new Enterprise Agreement at the same time as Powerlink, and who are also further ahead in terms of what they are prepared to offer their workers.

As noted above, there are a number of key outstanding claims that need to be resolved. These include, but are not limited to:

  1. Expanding the attraction and retention allowance to the professional/managerial stream (currently, Powerlink are only prepared to offer this to Trade/Technical workers – the allowance for these workers will be approximately $4.00 per hour).
  2. Implementation of a 34-hour work week, which can be worked across four days, for workers in the administrative stream, and the professional/managerial stream.
  3. Increasing the superannuation contribution rate, so it is in line with what is being offered by best practice employers in the industry that are operating interstate.
  4. Providing employees with annual pay progression (Powerlink has agreed to provide this for administrative workers only). Based on member feedback, it is clear the current model is not working – with workers often missing out on pay progression.
  5. Introduction of an engineering employment stream that appropriately recognises their qualifications, skills and experience.
  6. Introduction of leave loading in the order of 17.5% to be paid whenever an employee accesses annual leave.
  7. Overtime to be paid at double time (unless a greater rate is prescribed).
  8. Increasing the quantum of paid parental leave. For the primary carer, the claim is for twenty-six (26) weeks paid leave. For the secondary carer, the claim is for twelve (12) weeks paid leave.

If you would like information around what claims have been agreed already, please click the following link.

Next Steps

If our protected action ballot does not succeed, TSU members will be unable to take part in any protected action, and Powerlink will think that the current proposal is good enough.

By voting up our protected action ballot, you will deliver a strong message to Powerlink and provide our Union with the leverage needed to deliver significantly improved working conditions.  

We need you to vote in the protected action ballot when it comes to enable us to continue to negotiate a fair outcome that sets Powerlink up for success for the next four (4) years.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office on (07) 3844 5300 so you can speak with either:

- Ben Ellis, Senior Industrial Officer; or
- Brendan Parkinson, Senior Organiser.

The Services Union is by your side during these negotiations.

Above: ASU is the union fighting for members at Powerlink!