Essential Energy dismisses job cut claims as 'dishonest'

ESSENTIAL Energy has dismissed talk of mass job cuts at the company's New South Wales North Coast depots but more voluntary redundancies have not been ruled out.

The United Services Union fuelled tensions with company chiefs on Wednesday with claims senior management told workers at a meeting in Port Macquarie that mass redundancies could be expected across NSW.

USU energy manager Scott McNamara said the program was secretive and "ripping employment out of regional communities" and warned that significant further cuts were on the way.

Essential Energy was quick to label the claims as "dishonest".

According to a statement released on Wednesday night, the "program of reform" was being managed by a recruitment freeze, natural attrition and employee-initiated voluntary redundancy.

While it was unclear whether employees at Coffs Harbour, Grafton, Lismore and Tweed would be among those offered redundancies, Chief Operating Officer Gary Humphreys maintained there was no forced redundancy program and no set targets.

He said in the past 12 months 144 of the company's 4500 employees had applied for and been granted voluntary redundancy, less than half the number claimed by the union.

"Essential Energy will continue to implement our reform program sensibly and respectfully," Mr Humphreys said

"Our focus will be in the interests of our customers, and the many dedicated Essential Energy employees across NSW."

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