Essential Energy workers praised for campaign
ESSENTIAL Energy workers have been lauded as "heroes” for saving 182 regional NSW jobs.
The United Services Union said union members at the organisation had mobilised in a powerful effort to highlight the importance of regional jobs by meeting with MP's, highlighting alternative savings measures and building community support.
Welcoming the intervention by Energy Minister Matt Kean, who issued a directive to the publicly owned power distributor to halt the plans for 182 job cuts, the union said it delivered on the back of the effort of workers.
"When Essential Energy announced that they planned to slash 182 regional jobs, with no consultation or examination of the alternatives, workers didn't cop it on the chin, they fought back,” USU acting general secretary Steve Donley said.
"The outcome announced by Energy Minister Matt Kean only took place because workers visited their local MPs, showed them there were alternatives to job cuts, and urged them to join the fight.”
Mr Donley said Essential Energy workers had received great support from across the political divide, particularly praising the efforts of Deputy Premier John Barilaro, Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams, Opposition Leader Jodi McKay, and Swansea MP Yasmin Catley.
"More than 2000 jobs have been slashed from Essential Energy's workforce in recent years, and workers know that further cuts would only add to the enormous pressure they are under to maintain this essential community service.”
Meanwhile, the NSW opposition leader Jodi McKay has called on the government to give a guarantee workers will keep their jobs in the long term after Essential Energy's decision to put the job cuts "on hold”.
"Essential Energy workers on the Mid North Coast deserve a guarantee they will still have their jobs by Christmas,” she said.
"A temporary halt offers no reassurance to anybody.”