Electricity workers have this afternoon given seven working days notice of their intention to hold a four hour work stoppage after management at Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy failed to respond to an offer to accept a reduced pay rise in return for maintaining job security.
The notice, lodged with Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy, notifies that industrial action will take place on Tuesday, March 3, with staff stopping work for a four hour period.
The Electrical Trades Union said workers had been forced to escalate the dispute by lodging formal notice of industrial action after management at the publicly owned power companies failed to respond to an offer to accept a 2.5 per cent a year pay increase, in line with the NSW public sector wages policy, in return for maintaining job security ahead of the Liberals and Nationals planned electricity privatisation.
ETU secretary Steve Butler said the industrial action would involve thousands of workers who operate and maintain the electricity network in Sydney, the Hunter Valley, Newcastle, the Central Coast, Wollongong, the Illawarra, Blue Mountains and parts of the Central West.
“We have said all along that industrial action is an absolute last resort,” Mr Butler said.
“Power workers have been given no choice but to take this action after the NSW Government and management at Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy refused to agree to maintaining protections that prevent forced redundancies.
“On Tuesday, workers offered to accept a 2.5 per cent pay rise in return for retaining existing job protection provisions in a final attempt to avert industrial action, but their gesture of goodwill has been ignored.
“Premier Mike Baird previously promised that the sale of the electricity network wouldn’t see jobs and services slashed, yet his government is refusing to support an agreement that will protect them.”
Mr Butler said the union was determined to ensure the impact of the industrial action was focused on management, and not consumers, with power workers committing to respond to blackouts and other supply interruptions during the work stoppage.
“This action is about ensuring the government and power companies provide job security ahead of the Baird Government’s electricity network privatisation, not inconveniencing the general public,” he said.
“Our members will respond to all supply interruptions on this occasion, regardless of circumstances, to ensure consumers are not caught in the middle of this escalating dispute.”