Electrical union changes tune, seeks Gulaptis' help on jobs
FRUSTRATED MP Chris Gulaptis has hit out at the Electrical Trades Union for asking him to support its plan to reduce job cuts.
In response to a letter from the ETU on behalf of Essential Energy employees, asking Mr Gulaptis to support a union plan to save local jobs at the publicly-owned electricity network company, the Clarence MP said when he tried to discuss the issue with them months ago they didn't want to talk to him.
On Tuesday, Essential Energy announced 47 jobs would go in its first round of forecast job cuts for Northern NSW.
Mr Gulaptis said he made a submission against the Australian Energy Regulator's draft determination to cut the allowable revenue for energy companies in March, and lined up a meeting with Essential Energy and union representatives to discuss the matter prior to the state election- which they cancelled twice.
"I wanted to advise them I was onside with what they were about," he said.
"We rejected the assertions contained in the determination because we were concerned about job losses in regional NSW, as well as network safety and network reliability."
Instead, Mr Gulaptis said, they supported Labor, a party which has since made a decision to support the AER's determination.
"I tried to do everything to meet with them before this matter came to a head and I'm frustrated they have asked for my support now," he said.
"This is about regional jobs, not about the union. "The AER should take a more moderate line... by phasing in its determination rather than implementing it overnight."
The ETU'S proposal includes roster changes, job sharing, expansion of non-regulated work, and a mix and match voluntary redundancy program to help reduce planned job cuts.
In the letter, ETU deputy secretary Neville Betts called on Mr Gulaptis to make representations to Premier Mike Baird and National Party leader Troy Grant on behalf of Essential Energy workers, as well as raising the plan in the next Nationals party room meeting.
"I understand Essential Energy is also reluctant to reduce staff to reduce the forecasted spending allowance," Mr Gulaptis said.
"I think the ETU needs to sit down with them to work out... what they're going to do in order to keep their staff."