THE Electrical Trades Union says it has uncovered secret plans by the O’Farrell Government to cut more than half of the 13,500 jobs from the electricity sector through redundancies and forced sackings.
The document compiled by Networks NSW show that the O’Farrell Government is planning to slash staff numbers by almost 60 per cent through a systematic program including a staff freeze, redundancies and forced sackings.
But Essential Energy is disputing these claims saying its workers’ jobs are not under threat.
The union is warning local communities that these deep and savage cuts will have a disastrous impact on frontline services particularly in periods of natural disaster such as bushfires, storms and floods.
“The information that we have uncovered shows a calculated plan by the O’Farrell Government to slash staff numbers at the publicly owned electricity companies by more than half.” said ETU Secretary Steve Butler.
Essential Energy currently employs 598 staff at 10 locations across the Monaro region and South Coast.
The ETU says local Essential Energy locations and staff numbers are as follows: Goulburn (77), Crookwell (14), Braidwood (7), Bombala (7), Cooma (42), Jindabyne (16), Queanbeyan (299), Batemans Bay (7), Bega (68), Moruya (62) and Tuross Heads.
“Residents Monaro and the South Coast continue to endure natural disasters including bushfires, storms and flooding but it is the highly skilled and dedicated workers from Essential Energy that make sure the community have power restored as quickly as possible in times of need.”
But Essential Energy’s chief operating officer Gary Humphreys said union claims were completely wrong, and an insult to the companies' employees.
Gary said the Union claims were based on a discussion paper on future workforce planning across the electricity businesses that included diagrams without numbers or scale.
“Electricity reforms underway are designed to reduce costs in the business to contain network price increases to CPI over the next six years,” he said. “We will achieve this while continuing to respect our customers and employees throughout the process.”