Posted on 31-3-2016
Essential Energy workers will today protest outside the office of Monaro MP John Barilaro after the publicly owned electricity network company announced the closure of the Morrissett Street call centre.
Staff were notified on the eve of Easter that 20 local workers would no longer have jobs, taking to 538 the number of regional jobs slashed by Essential Energy since June last year.
The Electrical Trades Union said the NSW Government appeared determined to increase the profits they receive from the public company by aggressively attacking staff across regional NSW, with wages and conditions attacked, jobs cut, and apprentices terminated.
ETU Southern NSW organiser Mick Koppie slammed the callous timing of the job cuts.
“On the eve of Easter, Essential Energy management turned up at the call centre in Morrissett Street to tell staff that their positions were redundant and that they would no longer have a job,” Mr Koppie said.
“Management then had the hide to tell these workers that they can continue working for Essential Energy, but only if they move more than 650 kilometres to Port Macquarie.
“These are twenty local workers, many with young families, affected by these job cuts and management’s solution is to tell them to pack up their life and hit the road. It’s an absolute disgrace.”
Mr Koppie accused National Party MPs, including John Barilaro, of sitting on the sidelines while the NSW Government owned company attacked regional jobs and services.
“As far as local workers can tell, National Party MP’s are sitting silently by as Essential Energy rips the heart out of regional NSW by slashing jobs and attacking their dedicated employees,” he said.
“Essential Energy is wholly owned by the NSW Government, meaning that these attacks on regional workers must be sanctioned by the Baird Government as the sole shareholder.”
The union said workers were protesting outside the office of local MP and NSW Government Minister John Barilaro today to demand he stand by pledges he made ahead of the 2015 election, including:
“I will always lead the charge in protecting local electricity jobs” (Media release — 9/3/2015); and
“a key priority for this government is about creating and securing local jobs, so our families can look forward to being able to live and work in the Monaro” (Media release — 17/3/2015).
“Essential Energy workers are calling on John Barilaro to stand by his earlier commitment to protect local electricity jobs and stop these cuts from happening,” Mr Koppie said.
“If these jobs end up being axed from Queanbeyan we will all know that John Barilaro has failed to represent his electorate and protect local jobs.”