News

Unions reject Essential Energy job cuts proposal

Essential Energy's Grafton and Maclean crews have completed an upgrade to the network along Brooms Head Road boosting capacity and improving reliability in the area.
Essential Energy's Grafton and Maclean crews have completed an upgrade to the network along Brooms Head Road boosting capacity and improving reliability in the area.

ELECTRICITY provider Essential Energy wants to cut 800 jobs from regional New South Wales by 2018 under a draft workplace agreement.

The attempt, which also calls for unlimited job cuts after June 2018, predictably failed to inspire union delegates to sign on the dotted line.

The proposal comes after Essential Energy had announced in September there would be 60 job cuts on the North Coast, including 15 in Grafton and nine each in Lismore and Coffs Harbour.

That followed the Australian Energy Regulator's decision to cut the company's revenue by 30%.

Electrical Trades Union secretary Steve Butler said more than 1000 Essential Energy jobs had been slashed since 2013.

"Enterprise bargaining generally means that if you give something up you get something in return but it seems Essential Energy management think it's a one-way street," he said.

"Not only is Essential Energy wanting to sack people but they want to slash working conditions for remaining staff as well as implement a two-year wage freeze."

Other conditions included a ban on re-employing redundant workers within two years except for casual or temporary positions, and halving the amount workers are paid when called in for emergencies, from a minimum four hours' pay to two.

The need for outsourced contractors to be afforded the appropriate wages and conditions would also be removed, Mr Butler said.

"The NSW Government seems intent on slashing regional jobs at Essential Energy, which threatens service standards while maximising the profits they take from rural and regional customers," he said.

United Services Union energy manager Scott McNamara said the company needed to go back to the drawing board if it wanted union support.

"Workplace delegates ... refuse to stand by while jobs, services and standards are cut across regional NSW," he said.

The company last year said it needed to shed 2500 jobs to remain financially viable.

Topics:  electricity, essential energy, trade union, workplace agreement




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Roller derby takes on Grafton

Jammer Kira Campbell tries to get around a blocker from the opposing team at the Grafton Sports Centre on Saturday, May 28.

Roller Derby scrimmage takes on Grafton.

Politics in the Pub forum: Education funding is key

Adam Curlis, Sharryn Usher and Bob Boughton at the Politics in the Pub on Education at the Jacaranda Hotel on Friday, May 27.

Educators talked government funding at Politics in the Pub.

OPINION: Impact of turbines on birds blown out of proportion

Scale of carnage pales in comparison to those killed by cats

Latest deals and offers

Perfect time to invest in Northern Rivers property

The Northern Rivers rental market is tighter than Sydney making it the perfect time for investors to get better returns out of property than superannuation or banks deposits.

Low interest rates and tight rental market are prime time to invest