ETU Media Releases

ETU Media Releases

For media enquiries please contact George Houssos on 0418 655 682 or Tim Vollmer on 0404 273 313

Size of Essential Energy’s senior management team grows, pay rates soar, while jobs of front-line workers slashed

Peter Moss - Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Essential Energy has been asked to urgently explain why the ranks of senior managers have swelled and their paypackets soared at the same time as the front-line workers who maintain the electricity poles and wires across 95 per cent of NSW have faced massive job cuts.
Analysis of the NSW Government-owned company’s annual reports show that since 2015, the percentage of Essential Energy’s total wages bill devoted to paying senior managers has jumped from 7.3 to 11 per cent.
In the most recent annual report, the publicly-owned company disclosed that the number of managers receiving a remuneration package equal to, or exceeding, the highest pay rate available to senior executives in NSW public service had increased by 14 to 152 in a single year.
The surge in management spending comes against a backdrop of massive cuts to front-line workers across regional NSW, with the total workforce of Essential Energy nearly halving since 2012.
Last month, the company announced it was axing another 182 regional jobs, while an internal Essential Energy document has revealed that management plans to slash one in every five regional positions by 2024, resulting in another 500 workers losing their jobs.
The Electrical Trades Union has written to Essential Energy CEO John Cleland seeking an urgent explanation as to why senior manager numbers have continued to grow while so many front-line workers have lost their jobs.
“Essential Energy repeatedly claim their hands are tied, that these job cuts have been forced on them, yet the continued growth in the number of senior managers and how much they are being paid shows the pain of job cuts has been disproportionately felt by front-line workers,” ETU Secretary Justin Page said.
“When the percentage of total remuneration costs devoted to paying a small band of senior managers jumps from 7.3 to 11 per cent in just a few short years, it says there’s something serious out of whack.
“I can guarantee that the residents and businesses across 95 per cent of NSW who rely on Essential Energy to keep the lights on would rather see more of this money spent on maintaining front-line services, rather than lining the pockets of a growing band of senior managers.
“The ETU has written to Essential Energy seeking an urgent explanation as to how they justify such a substantial increase to the number and pay of senior managers over a period where approximately 2000 jobs have been lost.
“We have also asked how many of the recently announced job cuts will involve senior managers on these top pay rates.
“Our members have been working hard to identify possible cost saving and alternatives to job cuts, so it is extremely disheartening to see those efforts squandered by the continued growth of a bloated senior management team.”


Peter Moss - Monday, August 05, 2019
An internal Essential Energy document (see table below) has revealed that the NSW Government-owned company that operates the electricity poles and wires across 95 per cent of NSW is planning to slash one in five regional positions by 2024.
The cuts will see an additional 500 workers lose their jobs on top of the 182 that Essential Energy last month announced would be cut from their workforce this year.
The Electrical Trades Union said the latest revelation highlighted the importance of urgent political action to develop a practical plan to save these jobs across regional NSW.
Since 2012, the workforce at Essential Energy has nearly halved as more than 2,000 jobs have been lost, drastically reducing the number of skilled front-line workers available to respond to blackouts, storm damage, or other major incidents.
ETU Secretary Justin Page said the union was alarmed by the revelation that the current round of job cuts were just the beginning, with one in five workers at risk of losing their jobs in the coming years.
“Essential Energy has already been cut to the bone, we’ve seen the workforce almost halved in recent years and dozens of depots shut, so to discover that hundreds more jobs are on the line is alarming,” Mr Page said.
“With one in every five workers facing the chop, there is no question that regional communities will be devastated and service delivery will be greatly impacted.
“For towns already struggling with drought, the loss of these skilled jobs — forcing many families to move away — will have devastating flow-on effects on the local economy.”
The union has written to Essential Energy CEO John Cleland outlining a series of proposals that provide alternatives to job losses. These include:
- The insourcing of work currently contracted out — as other NSW electricity distributors have done — including pole replacements, service wire replacements, street lighting maintenance, vegetation management, yard maintenance, and information and communications technology (ICT) functions;
- Entry into the contestable metering market, given Essential Energy workers already possess the required skill sets; and
- Entry into the renewable energy market, given the significant amount of renewable projects being constructed across regional NSW.
The ETU has also provided a written briefing to NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro outlining alternatives to job cuts.
“Our members have been extremely grateful for the supportive comments made by Mr Barilaro and many of his National Party colleagues, but those words need to be followed up with tangible actions if we’re going to save these jobs,” Mr Page said.
“We believe there are viable options available to Essential Energy that can avoid these cuts, but they will require a united effort from the company, workers, their unions, the broader community, and elected representatives if we are going to save these jobs.
“We also want to work with the NSW Government to find a longer-term solution to the current system where the Australian Energy Regulator imposes arbitrary and draconian budget cuts, with little regard for the impacts on workers or their local communities.”

Essential Energy employees or their family members who require crisis support are urged to contact Lifeline (13 11 14 and or beyondblue (1300 22 4636 and

Media contacts: George Houssos 0418 655 682 or Tim Vollmer 0404 273 313

Help the ETU stop dangerous unlicensed electrical work

Bruce Fan - Monday, August 05, 2019

Email by August 14 with tips, dodgy job ads & your stories


Peter Moss - Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Our ETU NSW & ACT leadership team will continue to build a bigger, stronger union after being re-elected unopposed in July.

Leading our great union is an honour that I’m proud to share with Branch President Glen Potter and Assistant Secretary Ben Lister.

The ETU is a vibrant activist union including around 100 rank-and-file representatives across the ETU State Council, Biennial Conference and organising team.

The official results from the Australian and NSW Electoral Commissions confirm that our entire team has been endorsed without opposition.

I sincerely thank our members across New South Wales and the ACT for your ongoing support.

The ETU must rise to meet many challenges, but the election outcome tells us that members believe the union is on the right path.

We aim to grow a strong, smart union that stands up effectively for the rights of members and their families at work and in communities.

Our generation proudly carries that mission forward, just as organised electrical workers have done in NSW since 1902.

I invite every ETU member to step up and contribute to our collective efforts over the next four years.

Together there is much we can achieve.

In unity
Justin Page, Secretary ETU NSW & ACT

Essential Energy Slashes Regional Jobs

Bruce Fan - Wednesday, July 03, 2019


Bruce Fan - Friday, June 28, 2019

2019 ETU/CEPU Election


Apply for 2019 ETU Education Scholarships

Bruce Fan - Thursday, June 27, 2019

Apply here for 2019 ETU Education Scholarships

Each year the ETU NSW & ACT Branch awards six $2,000 Education Scholarships to assist with the costs of further education and training.

ETU Scholarships are available for study at diploma level or higher at any Australian tertiary institution, including TAFE and accredited training organisations. 

Financial ETU members, their spouses, partners, children and grandchildren are eligible to apply.

Print and return the application form by mail or email. Applications must reach the ETU by 5 pm Tuesday 30 July 2019.

For further information or assistance with your application, contact Peter Moss on (02) 9267 4844 or .

You can download the application from here

Annual General Meeting of the ETU NSW

Bruce Fan - Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Annual General Meeting of the ETU NSW

The Annual General Meeting of the Electrical Trades Union, NSW Barnch, will be held on Monday 3 June 2018, at the Union’s Office.

Level 5, 370 Pitt Street, Sydney.

Commencing at 4.30pm.

All members are invited to attend.

You’re invited to our ETU Youth meeting Thursday 30 May

Peter Moss - Thursday, May 23, 2019
Come along to our jam packed ETU Youth meeting next Thursday evening! 4.30-6.30pm at ETU head office on Pitt Street.
We have Nick Bligh construction organiser presenting a draft log of claims for Electrogroup and NECA agreements. He will also explain the process and what to expect in the coming months.

Daniel from EISS will help you gain some more understanding of your superannuation and help you decide how to best manage your money.

There will be reports from Tara Koot Apprentice Organiser and Secretary Justin Page.

If anyone is interested in applying for ETU Apprentice of the Year and going to America in October we can help you with your application.

Or you might just want to come along have a beer and some pizza and network with other electrical workers. Hope to see you all there!


Peter Moss - Friday, April 12, 2019

May Day 2019 takes on added significance just days before the federal election. Join us at your local May Day Rally and let's change the government to Change the Rules.


May Day Family Fun Day

11 am Sunday 5 May
Hyde Park North

Speakers: Sally Manus, ACTU & Mark Morey, Unions NSW
Free food, rides & entertainment

Change the Rules May Day Rally

11 am Wednesday 1 May
Belmore Park

We encourage members to take authorised leave, such as RDOs or annual leave, to attend this event.


May Day March

10 am Saturday 4 May
Assemble Lowden Square (eastern side of Wollongong Rail)


Change the Rules May Day Rally

12 noon Wednesday 1 May
Civic Park