North Coast region Essential Energy workers will stop work this Thursday.
North Coast region Essential Energy workers will stop work this Thursday. Rob Wright

Essential Energy employees plan Thursday stoppages

LOCAL regional workers at Essential Energy plan a series of four-hour stoppages and temporary work bans this Thursday.

The Electrical Trades Union has advised that North Coast centres including Coffs Harbour, Dorrigo, Grafton, Kempsey, Nambucca Heads and Port Macquarie will hold stoppages from 9am-1pm.

Last month Essential Energy employees voted overwhelmingly in support of taking protected industrial action in support of a new enterprise agreement.

ETU secretary Steve Butler said management was also seeking to impose a new workplace agreement that would allow the immediate sacking of 800 regional employees.

"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," he 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."

He said union members would return to depots for the work stoppages in order to support their local community in the event of an emergency.

Workers will also implement 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.

"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 MP's 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."

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