Essential Energy jobs to go

Staff at Essential Energy in Bathurst and across the region are facing an uncertain future after the energy provider got the green light to slash hundreds of jobs this week.

There is no official word about how many jobs will go in Bathurst, but unions say the news is not good.

Essential Energy has the power the forcibly cut at least 600 jobs by July 2018 after a key ruling by the Fair Work Commission on Wednesday.

Under the ruling a further 1,000 losses can be expected by 2019.

David McKinley, secretary of the Electrical Trades Union, said on Friday Essential Energy hadn’t outlined where it will make the job cuts, but said if half the work force is essentially going to go, half the staff at Essential Energy Bathurst could potentially go.

Mr McKinley said the ETU has written to NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro seeking his urgent assistance and intervention to protect regional communities.

He said Mr Barilaro and his National Party Colleagues publicly claimed to have saved jobs at services at Essential Energy ahead of the 2015 election, while at the same time accusing unions of running a scare campaign about future job cuts.

“Given Essential Energy remains 100 per cent owned and controlled by the NSW Government and given that the ETU’s claims of mass job losses was in fact true, we are now seeking your assistance and immediate intervention to protect regional communities from these cuts,” Mr McKinley wrote.

“National Party MP’s have in the past attended Essential Energy depots around the state telling staff their jobs were safe under the National Party. This false hope has contributed to our members distress and I believe it is now time for the NSW National Party to stand up and demonstrate that NSW Nationals will in fact protect regional jobs at Essential Energy.”

Mr McKinley said the only response the union has received Mr Barilaro was he had received the letter.

“He’s basically wiped his hands of it and said it is up to Fair Work and Essential Energy,”.

Mr McKinley said just five years ago Essential Energy had a workforce of 4,500 people, but under the Liberal / National party two thirds of that workforce are out of a job.

He said during that time 47 depots have closed and if another 1600 jobs go by 2019, another 47 depots would close.