Power workers to strike. Company says won’t impact customers

ESSENTIAL Energy workers are set to strike next month but the state-owned power company says it will ensure the legal industrial action does not impact Clarence Valley customers.

Electrical Trades Union and United Services Union members opted for industrial action and other work bans after almost 12 months of bargaining with Essential Energy for a new enterprise agreement.

In June, the company revealed it planned to make hundreds of its workers obsolete over two years.

ETU secretary Steve Butler said union members would stop work for up to 72 hours as well as refuse to work overtime, complete training or paperwork and not use the company's computers, mobile phones and other technology.

The stoppages and bans are protected by law.

Mr Butler said the action was necessary because Essential Energy would not back down on a range of issues as the unions and the business negotiated the latest enterprise bargaining agreement.

Having staff accept a "two-year wage freeze" was among the options put forward by the company.Essential Energy acting CEO Gary Humphreys said the business put forward a draft agreement last month that introduced involuntary redundancy "as the business navigates a period of significant reform to drive efficiency and remove unnecessary costs to customers".

He said the new EBA would see workers keep conditions such as long service leave and superannuation entitlements "well above the Superannuation Guarantee Charge".

"It was designed to balance Essential Energy's urgent need for greater flexibility and efficiency with the interests of employees," he said.

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