Essential Energy job cuts: NSW Labor says guarantees are vital

DISCUSSIONS: Essential Energy management will meet with unions next week about the proposed job cuts. Photo: FILE
DISCUSSIONS: Essential Energy management will meet with unions next week about the proposed job cuts. Photo: FILE

A JOBS guarantee is vital for Essential Energy workers across the state, NSW Labor says in the lead-up to next week's meeting between the electricity distributor and unions.

The government owned energy supplier announced two separate lots of jobs cuts in mid last year, with a 682 jobs to be slashed from across regional NSW.

The announcement drew condemnation from politicians and business leaders who said drought-affected regional areas would be severely impacted.

However in August 2019, Essential Energy was directed to halt the cuts and "consider alternate options for savings".

NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay said workers across regional NSW were still in limbo.

She said the delay in firm answers for workers was another example of a growing rift between the Nationals and Liberal NSW Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean.

Essential Energy is operating in accordance with the requirements laid out in the government's direction, with no further redundancies planned while the direction remains in place.

Essential Energy spokeswoman

"In August, the Deputy Premier celebrated a victory over his Liberal colleagues but it's now January and he is yet to deliver what he promised," she said.

"Instead of saving these jobs like he promised, he has ignited an unhelpful war of words with his own Energy and Environment Minister, it's disgraceful.

"John Barilaro talks a big game but he has not actually issued any formal directive to save these jobs.

"He promised no regional or rural jobs would go but has also refused to rule it out in 2020."

Ahead of next week's consultation meeting between Essential Energy management and unions, a spokeswoman for the company said it had obeyed directives to halt cuts.

"Essential Energy is operating in accordance with the requirements laid out in the government's direction, with no further redundancies planned while the direction remains in place," she said.

When news initially broke in July 2019 about the job cuts 155 positions and their locations were listed, with 26 jobs to go in this region.

Bathurst was to be the hardest hit with eight staff to lose their jobs, while the Orana region would lose seven staff including three in Dubbo, as well as one each in the Coonabarabran, Dunedoo, Gilgandra and Narrabri depots.

Jobs would also go in: Oberon (2), Parkes (2), Orange (2), Crookwell (1), Molong (1), Yass (1), Young (1) and Goulburn (1).

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This story Jobs guarantee vital for Essential Energy workers: NSW Labour first appeared on Daily Liberal.