ETU tries to stop mass energy sackings
UNION organisers have launched a legal bid to block energy companies Ausgrid and Essential Energy from slashing 2500 workers across NSW.
The Electrical Trades Union fronted the Fair Work Commission on Friday in what it calls "the first of many" hearings to stop the proposed sackings.
Essential Energy last month announced it would cut 60 workers from its North Coast team, including 15 from Grafton and nine each from Lismore and Coffs Harbour.
ETU deputy secretary Neville Betts said a decision on the Fair Work bid would be handed down in coming weeks.
"We believe that plans to introduce involuntary redundancy by Ausgrid and Essential Energy are in breach of their existing workplace agreement," he said.
"These companies, presumably supported by the NSW Government, are using taxpayer money to hire expensive lawyers with the sole purpose of sacking thousands of front line power workers from across the state.
"If Ausgrid and Essential Energy are successful in their bid to axe these highly skilled essential service jobs, hundreds of local communities will be devastated socially and economically in what can only be explained as avoidable job losses."
The ETU has proposed alternatives to sackings including job sharing, roster changes and voluntary redundancy "mix and match programs".
"The ETU wrote to almost every member of state parliament seeking support to minimise local job losses through an alternative plan, less than a dozen responded and only two took the time to meet with union representatives," Mr Betts said.
"Clearly the only jobs that management and MPs appear to be interested in are their own; otherwise there would be a concerted effort by all parties to implement every measure possible to save jobs."
Essential Energy job cuts
Grafton - 15
Lismore - 9
Coffs Harbour - 9
Casino - 6
Kempsey - 6
Murwillumbah - 4
Tweed Heads - 4
Ballina - 2
Kyogle - 2
Nambucca Heads - 2
Maclean - 1