Protected industrial action at NSW Government-owned electricity distributor Essential Energy will take place for four hours today at more than 50 workplaces and depots across the state (full list at end).
Essential Energy employees last month voted overwhelmingly in support of taking protected industrial action in support of a new enterprise agreement. This followed an unprecedented legal attack by the company, which is seeking to terminate existing workplace agreements and cut the wages and conditions of thousands of employees across the state.
The Electrical Trades Union said Essential Energy management was also seeking to impose a new workplace agreement that would allow the immediate sacking of 800 regional employees.
ETU assistant secretary Neville Betts said workers at more than 50 depots, control rooms and other workplaces would take part in protected industrial action from 9am today (Wednesday 20 April).
“If Essential Energy gets its way, not only will redundancy provisions, redeployments, and salary maintenance conditions be threatened, but wages would be cut and almost a thousand regional jobs would be immediately slashed,” Mr Betts said.
“Workers simply refuse to take that kind of unprecedented attack lying down, and are determined to defend jobs and services in their communities across NSW.”
Mr Betts said union members would remain at their depots for the duration of the work stoppages in order to support their local community in the event of an emergency.
Workers are separately implementing a series of periodic bans on particular types of work, such as communicating with contractors or completing paperwork not related to workplace safety.
“Management simply refuse to budge from their proposal that staff accept massive jobs cuts, a two-year wage freeze, a ban on redundant employees applying for other jobs with the company, and a halving of the payment for emergency call-outs,” Mr Betts said.
“Workers refuse to accept that treatment, leaving them with no choice but to protest through lawful industrial action until the company starts to bargain in good faith.
“If Liberal and National Party MPs truly care about protecting jobs in regional NSW, now would be a good time for them to step up to the plate in supporting Essential Energy workers and their local communities.”
Locations of Essential Energy work stoppages — Wednesday 20 April:
Albury, Balranaid, Barham, Bathurst, Bega, Berrigan, Blayney, Bombala, Boorowa, Braidwood, Broken Hill, Buronga, Canowindra, Condobolin, Coolamon, Cooma, Cootamundra, Corowa, Cowra, Crookwell, Culcairn, Darlington Point, Deniliquin, Forbes, Goulburn, Grenfell, Griffith, Gundagai, Harden, Hay, Hillston, Jerilderie, Jindabyne, Junee, Lake Cargelligo, Leeton, Lockhart, Menindee, Moama, Molong, Moruya, Moulamein, Narrandera, Oberon, Orange, Parkes, Peak Hill, Queanbeyan, Temora, Tooleybuc, Tottenham, Trundle, Tumbarumba, Tumut, Wagga Wagga, West Wyalong, Wilcannia, Yass, Young.