Sydney Water workers reject Roch Cheroux's dud deal, industrial action looms if management does not change tack
5 September 2023
Sydney Water workers have voted to reject the deal that has been aggressively promoted by managing director Roch Cheroux, which the Australian Services Union NSW & ACT says is a clear vote of no confidence in the executive leadership team.
In the highest turn out of employees voting on an EA at Sydney Water, 75 per cent rejected management’s offer of an enterprise agreement that would see employees going backwards on wages and conditions, including much longer working hours, secretive individual contracts, reduced parental leave and compassionate leave, and being stripped of RDO entitlements.
The ASU is now warning that industrial action is possible this summer if management does not change tack.
ASU NSW & ACT Secretary Angus McFarland said the no vote should be a wake up call to management – and to Sydney Water’s sole shareholder: the NSW Government.
“Despite having management’s propaganda pushed on them, workers have emphatically rejected this offer that would have dragged them backwards,” Mr McFarland said.
“This is a clear vote of no confidence in Sydney Water’s executive leadership team.
“Sydney Water has traditionally enjoyed high morale but right now workers are deeply unhappy. They are already leaving in droves because of poor wages, shabby conditions and a poisonous workplace culture.
“In a terrible cost of living crisis, Sydney Water tried to take advantage of the desperation of these workers for a pay rise by forcing them to accept one of the worst enterprise agreements in the water industry.
“The massive vote against this shoddy management offer shows that Sydney Water employees recognised this deal for what it was.
“We have written to the managing director Roch Cheroux asking him to come to the table and negotiate in good faith with unions. Unless he is prepared to show some leadership, the threat of industrial action cannot be ruled out.
“Given Sydney Water’s record through negotiations so far, we have also written to the Minister asking for her to intervene in support of proper negotiations so that we can start to repair workplace culture and conditions at Sydney Water.”
Media contact: Sofie Wainwright 0403 920 301