ETU abuses right of entry powers: NECA

Wednesday, 10 November, 2021

ETU abuses right of entry powers: NECA

Apprentices have been prevented from doing their jobs by the Electrical Trades Union (ETU), according to NECA.

It said that the Electrical Trades Union abused right of entry powers to disrupt construction sites.

The National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) said that without any consultation, the ETU targeted apprentices employed by the NECA group training organisation who are working with host electrical contracting firms on major construction projects across Sydney.

Using right of entry notices to enter multiple sites, it said that ETU delegates wrongly claimed NECA apprentices were not allowed to work because site-specific risk assessments had not been completed by NECA staff with specialist safety qualifications. This is not standard practice.

The host electrical contractors are assessed by NECA Apprenticeships to ensure their suitability to supervise apprentices, including a review of the host employer’s Safety Management Systems, and it is under the host employers Site Risk Assessment that these apprentices are required to work.

NECA and the hosts it partners with follow SafeWork’s guide for ensuring Group Training apprentices can work safely.

NECA said it has done everything it can to keep the apprentices working and minimise disruption caused by the union, including completing additional risk assessments while awaiting SafeWork’s advice.

Despite NECA’s best efforts, it said that the ETU’s tactics prevented dozens of hardworking apprentices from doing their job, disrupting their careers and delaying critical infrastructure projects.

On Monday, 1 November, SafeWork visited one of the sites the ETU entered and confirmed claims made by the ETU were false. NECA said it would welcome an investigation by SafeWork and the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

NECA is calling for a public register of right of entry notices to be overseen by the ABCC.

Image credit: © Zajda

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