JOB CUTS: Energy provider pushing for efficiencies
ESSENTIAL Energy workers are in shock after learning there will be significant job losses across the region, but it's still unclear how many Coffs Harbour jobs will go.
Impacted staff have been advised of the plans, with the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) labelling the culling process a "hunger games" style of competition.
"The loss of 165 skilled jobs at Essential Energy is devastating news, but the worst part is that many of these cuts will be undertaken through what management have called a 'merit selection process', which will essentially pit workers against each other to save their own job," ETU Secretary Justin Page said.
Coffs Harbour State MP Gurmesh Singh says he doesn't believe there will be job losses in Coffs Harbour, but is trying to find out and will issue a statement shortly.
An Essential Energy spokesperson has confirmed that on the North Coast a number of field and non-field roles will be impacted.
"The final number will be determined through the consultation process. Essential Energy is continuing discussions with impacted employees and relevant unions," the spokesperson said.
"Essential Energy is committed to maintaining downward pressure on the network component of electricity pricing by adopting new technologies, improving the way we do business, achieving operational efficiencies whilst ensuring a safe, reliable service for our customers."
The NSW government-owned electricity supplier has outlined a series of programs and initiatives to deliver a better service at lower cost over the next three to five years.
"As we drive efficiencies in our business, we will also be ensuring that we have the right size workforce across our service territory.
"These changes will allow us to continue to deliver the high quality of service our customers want at a lower cost. All employees affected by the changes will be fully supported through the transition."
With the Liberal/National State Government foreshadowing a restructure of its public service on the condition it would not impact regional jobs, the Labor Opposition has called on Deputy Premier John Barilaro to intervene.
"Essential Energy which operates the electricity poles and wires across 95 per cent of the state has gutted more than 2000 jobs from their ranks since 2015," Deputy NSW Labor Leader and Shadow Minister for Rural and Regional Jobs Yasmin Catley said.
"The Nationals are big on talking about regional jobs, but when the Liberals come to cut services in the bush, Barilaro hands them the scissors.
"Barilaro says he's standing up for jobs in the regions but it couldn't be further from the truth. The Deputy Premier owes it to NSW to answer the latest round of job cuts.
"This government is addicted to privatisation and the government need to reassure the community that it's not cutting costs simply to sell Essential in a fire sale to their mates."