Sydney Water Threats

Workers at Sydney Water are essential. We have been working through the fires, drought, floods and the pandemic to keep our water safe.

We are currently testing wastewater to help keep one step ahead of COVID. Our work does not stop, and we work around the clock to keep water running at your home.

We are currently negotiating a new Enterprise Agreement at Sydney Water - to make sure we can protect our pay and conditions.

After Premier Berejiklian announced a 2.5% increase to public sector wages, Sydney Water were forced to do an embarrassing backflip after having offered essential workers a dismal 1%. 

Since then Sydney Water have been in damage control. 

The Australian Services Union has heard extraordinary feedback from members this week about the lengths that Sydney Water is prepared to go to, to sell their unfair Enterprise Agreement proposal. 

It's been widely reported that Sydney Water has stated there will be "no backpay" if their EA offer is voted down. It is clear that Sydney Water is desperate to rush through their unfair deal.

The ASU is currently bargaining with Water NSW and Hunter Water and we can confirm that no such threats have been made by these employers. In fact, Water NSW has confirmed that when the pay increase is agreed it will be backdated until 1 July 2021.


So why is Sydney Water threatening employees?

Sydney Water walked away from negotiations and cancelled the last bargaining meeting.

No other public sector employer is requiring employees to accept reduced conditions before providing them with a 2% pay increase.

Sydney Water's offer is not supported by ASU members so Sydney Water is resorting to scare tactics to sell their unpopular deal. 

Don't believe Sydney Water's empty threats - make sure you vote NO so that Sydney Water returns to the bargaining table and makes a better offer.

Find out the real facts about Sydney Water's "Facts"

We have prepared some information in response to Sydney Water's "Facts" document.

There are some glaring inaccuracies in Sydney Water's version of the "Facts"- see below for the truth about Sydney Water's unfair EA offer - we have used the headings in Sydney Water's document for easy reference.

Last week’s announcement from the NSW government?

  • Sydney Water wrongly claims that in line with the Premier’s announcement to increase the Government Wages Policy, “our executive team met on Monday morning and immediately adjusted the proposed 2021 Sydney Water Enterprise Agreement”
  • This is incorrect - On Monday 21 June, hours after the announcement, Sydney Water did not commit to passing on the increase – check out the email which Sydney Water sent to you at 1:30pm that day which confirms this
  • This all changed only when Unions wrote to Sydney Water Managing Director Roch Cheroux at 5:30pm on Monday 21 June, calling on Sydney Water to increase their pay offer from 1%. Suddenly Sydney Water was in damage control - sending out emails to staff on Monday night confirming that they would revise their EA offer to 2.5% including superannuation.

Will Sydney Water employees receive the 2.5% wage increase in full?

  • No – Sydney Water employees will only receive a 2.04% wage increase
  • Employees covered by Superannuation Guarantee Legislation will receive 0.5% super increase next pay regardless of whether EA offer is voted up or not.
  • No other public sector agency is being offered 2.04% and expected to reduce conditions.
  • NSW Govt Wages Policy specifically provides for wages higher than 2.04% if savings are achieved through reduced conditions

Will ICE employees receive the 2.5% wage increase in full?

  • No!
  • Sydney Water says all ICE employees will receive 0.5% package increase
  • For ICE employees covered by Superannuation Guarantee Legislation, the 0.5% increase will fund the 0.5% Super increase
  • The remaining 2% will be allocated to ICE employees based on performance.

Why am I being asked to fund the increase in super contribution of 0.5%?

  • Sydney Water says employees pay for superannuation because “it is for our retirement”
  • This is wrong! Unions fought for and won compulsory employer super contributions.
  • Employees at Sydney Water paid under the EA have never previously been required to fund the increase (eg 1 July 2014 was when super was last increased).
  • The clear intention of legislators - who introduced the Superannuation Guarantee Legislation under the Keating Government in 1992 - was for superannuation to be funded by employers on top of ordinary wages.

What is the current rate of inflation?

  • The Unions have been saying that the Federal Govt expects inflation to be 1.75% in the 2021/2022 FY and 2.25% in the 2022/2023 FY)
  • Sydney Water have previously disagreed with Unions about this.
  • Sydney Water have finally come out and agreed with Unions about rate of inflation
  • Wage offer for 1st year is above expected inflation but conditions will be cut
  • Wage offer for 2nd year is below expected inflation

Why is Sydney Water extending the Span of Hours?

  • So they don’t have to pay penalty rates!
  • The EA already allows work to be performed outside the current span of hours by agreement.
  • Expanding the span of hours is unnecessary and could result in employees being forced to work at times they would usually be spending with their family

Why is Sydney Water taking First Aid and other allowances away from new employees?

  • To save money!
  • This is inequitable and will create two tiers of employees at Sydney Water

Why is Sydney Water grandfathering the Childcare assistance allowance?

  • To save money!

Are Unions endorsing the Sydney Water Offer?

  • Sydney Water walked away from negotiations and cancelled the last bargaining meeting
  • Sydney Water is not following the NSW Government Wages Policy although it says it is aligned to the Policy
  • No other public sector employer is requiring employees to accept reduced conditions before providing them with a 2% pay increase
  • In the circumstances the Unions cannot endorse the offer

What if there is a NO vote?

  • Sydney Water says “if the result is NO, then the EA team will have to resume the negotiations.”
  • Sydney Water should never have stopped the negotiations in the first place!
  • Vote no to send Sydney Water back to the bargaining table so they can make a better offer!