ETU Media Releases

ETU Media Releases

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NSW Government creates power crisis after revealing up to 4,600 workers face the sack

- Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Baird Government is putting the safety and reliability of the State’s electricity system at risk after revealing plans to sack up to 4,600 electricity workers.

Workers at publicly owned Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy and Essential Energy will be impacted by the Baird Governments decision.

Head of Networks NSW, Vince Graham, told unions at a meeting on Friday afternoon the government- controlled businesses will write to workers across the state with the aim of sacking up to 4,600 workers or more than 30 per cent of the workforce.

Electrical Trades Union Secretary, Steve Butler said that the Baird Government has created a crisis in the electricity sector that will see thousands of NSW families thrown on the scrap heap and the reliability and safety of the electricity network put at risk.

“Today the union’s fears about mass sackings were confirmed by the actions of Baird Government.” Mr Butler said.

“We have been told that the government will be targeting between 2,200 and 4,600 power workers from across the state ahead of their privatisation plans.” Mr Butler said.

“We were called to a meeting at three o’clock on a Friday afternoon before a long weekend, to be told that the government will be writing to power workers across the state regarding redundancies.”

“The NSW Government is creating a crisis in the electricity sector that will result in the loss of thousands of highly skilled and good quality jobs from across the state with no community to be spared.” said Mr Butler.

“Not only will thousands of jobs be lost from metropolitan and regional areas but the safety and reliability of the electricity network – an asset that the people of NSW have just paid billions of dollars to upgrade – will be put at risk.”

Mr Butler said cutting 30 percent of the workforce would have a devastating impact on reliability and safety.

“You cannot cut 30 per cent of the workforce that build and maintain the electricity network without having an impact on reliability and safety including that of the public.”

“The Government will claim they are acting on a decision of the regulator but the simple fact is the government controls the regulator with every state energy minister having a seat at the table.”

“Today’s move by the NSW government is based on a draft ruling making it not only premature but also not in the community’s interest.”

Mr Butler said the situation had reached a crisis point. He called on Premier Mike Baird to step in and negotiate a resolution that would save jobs and guarantee the safety and reliability of the electricity system.

“The prospects of industrial action being taken have just increased but workers and their unions stand ready to resolve the government’s power crisis.”

“I have today written to the Premier seeking an urgent meeting to address our concerns and deliver on the promises he made in relation to job protections.”