Union welcomes pledge by Port Macquarie MP to fight to prevent any forced job cuts

The Electrical Trades Union has welcomed a pledge my Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams that she will fight against any forced job cuts at publicly-owned regional electricity distributor Essential Energy.

The Nationals MP also demanded the current redundancy process be halted, telling local media that she “will not stand by and see one Essential Energy worker be forced out of a job”.
Ms Williams’ intervention comes as Essential Energy CEO John Cleland revealed to workers that the planned cuts would be even deeper than originally reported, with 182 positions now on the chopping block.
Port Macquarie, where Essential Energy’s head office is located, is likely to suffer the largest number of job losses.
The NSW Government-owned electricity distributor — which operates the electricity poles and wires across 95 per cent of NSW — has given workers less than a week to respond to the forced job cuts.
ETU Secretary Justin Page welcomed Ms Williams’ outspoken support for local workers, offering to meet with the MP to outline a range of alternate options that could prevent forced redundancies.
“Our members, who have been devastated by the news of these cuts, were greatly heartened to see members of the NSW Government demanding a halt to these cuts and the protection of regional jobs,” Mr Page said.
“We stand ready and willing to work with Ms Williams and any of her Nationals colleagues who want to join the campaign against the further decimation of regional jobs and services at Essential Energy.
“The ETU has put forward a range of proposals to Essential Energy management on ways in which job cuts can be avoided and we would happily share those with Ms Williams.
“There are alternatives available that can deliver savings and protect regional jobs. All that is needed is the political will to force Essential Energy management to consider them.
“Since 2015, we have seen 2000 regional jobs lost at Essential Energy, which has had devastating consequences on individual workers, their families, and their communities.
“These cuts are unsustainable, they’re already impacting services, they’re having devastating effects on regional NSW, and it’s time we put aside political differences and came together as a community to save these jobs.”
Essential Energy employees or their family members who require crisis support are urged to contact Lifeline (13 11 14 and lifeline.org.au) or beyondblue (1300 22 4636 and beyondblue.org.au).
/Public Release.