Essential Energy cuts Clarence jobs weeks from Christmas

EMPLOYEES from Grafton and Maclean's Essential Energy depots have been included in a pre-Christmas job cull this week, a union says.

According to the United Services Union, at least one worker each from the electricity distributor's Grafton and Maclean offices have been told this week that they no longer have a job.

USU general secretary Graeme Kelly slammed the timing as heartless, accusing Essential Energy management of treating loyal workers with contempt.

It is believed they are just two of 36 forced terminations which have been carried out across NSW since Monday - the first of 600 the company plans to axe from regional communities across New South Wales by 2018, following a key ruling by the Fair Work Commission.

"How incredibly insensitive and out of touch can management at Essential Energy be if they think that it is acceptable behaviour to ring workers just weeks before Christmas to tell them that - despite years of loyal service - they've no longer got a job," Mr Kelly said.

"Workers at this publicly-owned company are still in shock that management was granted approval last month to axe 600 jobs by 2018, and up to 1,000 more in 2019, but that emotion is turning to anger as they see the heartless way colleagues are being treated when they are notified of their termination."

In response to the latest news, a USU representative will meet with Essential Energy workers in Grafton today to talk with those who may be impacted by the regional job cuts, and offer practical support.

Local USU representative Brian Cameron said the union believed it was not too late for the NSW Government, as the owner of Essential Energy, to intervene and halt or reduce the number of job cuts.

"There is no question these job cuts will have a devastating impact, not just on the workers and their families, but on their entire communities," Cameron said.

"These meetings are about providing practical support to the workers who are facing a very uncertain future, as well developing a plan to fight to save as many local jobs as possible.'

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