Essential Energy responds to job cut claims
AN ESSENTIAL Energy spokeswoman has said the company's choice to cut jobs is 'deeply regrettable'.
Over the next five years the company will slash 182 jobs.
"Essential Energy continues to engage with the ETU as we work through the consultation process ... to a number of alternative proposals put forward by the ETU," she said.
"Our preference remains that any necessary workforce reductions are, to the greatest extent possible, achieved through natural attrition and other exits."
JOB cuts will see three Essential Energy employees booted in Tamworth and another two in Gunnedah, internal documents obtained by the Electrical Trades Union [ETU] show.
Another 500 people could be laid off on top of the 182 announced last month, and ETU secretary Justin Page met with the region's workers on Wednesday.
"Those two depots have been targeted for immediate job losses and given the size if Essential Energy pursues another 500, no doubt there will be further losses in Tamworth and Gunnedah," Mr Page said.
"It's going to impact service delivery for sure, what they're proposing is to reduce one in five jobs, that will have a huge impact on service delivery across NSW."
The ETU put forward a number of initiatives to Essential Energy chief executive John Cleland to save jobs.
It suggested insourcing work that's contracted out, like pole replacements, and breaking into the renewable energy and metering markets.
But a response received yesterday confirmed the energy giant was not interested in implementing any of the alternatives, some that have been successfully adopted by other electricity distributors in the state.
Some local employees have been with the company for decades, and aren't being given the option to choose redundancy, Mr Page said.
"Morale is at an all-time low, pitting workers against workers isn't a good thing and people are trying to fight for their job - it's been an absolutely disgusting approach by Essential Energy," he said.
"This company is 100 per cent publicly owned and the state government has the power to stop these job cuts if they wish to."
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson met with Deputy Premier John Barilaro on Tuesday and opposes the job cuts "full stop".
"We want people to move to regional NSW, not get sacked and move away," Mr Anderson said.
"We're talking about families and quite often there's some loyalty with this company and it needs to recognise that.
"I just think when a state-owned organisation like Essential Energy cut jobs they should absolutely have consulted with local members given the state government is the major stakeholder - it's appalling."
The first employees will be sacked by September 30.
The Leader contacted Essential Energy but it did not respond before this article was published.