Power to the people protest supported

IF the chorus of car horns was anything to go by, Country Energy workers had plenty of support in Coffs Harbour yesterday.

About 40 employees held a rally outside their Thompsons Road depot to protest State Government plans to privatise the power industry.

Waving placards which screamed out 'Stop The Sell-Off', 'Power Sell-Off: You Will Pay More' and 'Keep Power And Jobs In Our Hands', the workers received appreciative toots from the passing traffic.

Their rally was one of many throughout NSW which formed part of a 24-hour stoppage.

United Services Union local delegate Barry Smith said the State Government did not have a mandate to sell off the electricity industry.

"In fact, the power industry doesn't belong to them. It belongs to the people of NSW," he said.

"The electricity infrastructure in regional NSW was developed by the county councils many years ago."

He said workers were worried about the detrimental effects privatisation would have on job security and customer service.

"The message to Premier Morris Iemma is clear. Hands off and leave us alone," Mr Smith said.

"There's also a really good chance it could be sold overseas."

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