Essential Energy job cuts

Essential Energy job cuts.
Essential Energy job cuts.

Essential Energy executives visited Armidale last Tuesday following an announcement to axe hundreds of jobs across the state.

The company said the move “provides the future employment conditions for our employees” after the decision by the Fair Work Commission.

“[It] marks the end of a long period of Enterprise Agreement negotiations between Essential Energy and the unions,” Essential Energy’s Chief Executive Officer, John Cleland said.

The Electrical Trades Union and United Services Union have slammed the decision and urged the state government to intervene.

“This is the time for the National Party to finally stand up for regional NSW and to demand an end to the wholesale axing of quality jobs by publicity-owned organisations across the state,” ETU deputy secretary Dave McKinley said.

The written decision also revealed that Essential Energy management intends to use outsourcing to carry out further cuts, with the company’s eventual target seeing one in every two jobs go.

Mr Cleland said the decision “provides greater flexibility to continue the process of reforming the Essential Energy business in response to changing customer expectations and a rapidly evolving energy sector”.

“We have no plans to implement the provisions before Christmas, except for those employees previously identified as redeployees [around 30].”

A statement by the FWC acknowledged its decision would have a serious impact on small towns.

“Job opportunities are generally limited … it is likely that many redundant employees will have to relocate themselves and their families in order to obtain alternative employment,” the statement read.

The executive team will continue to visit around 60 locations across NSW this week to discuss the Workplace Determination decision in more detail with local branches.