Essential Energy slashes 60 jobs on North Coast
ESSENTIAL Energy has announced 60 job cuts on the North Coast of NSW as part of widespread workforce reductions.
Grafton will be the hardest hit with 15 positions on the chopping block, followed by Lismore and Coffs Harbour with nine cuts each.
The company blamed the slashing of 700 jobs across the state on the Australian Energy Regulator cutting its operating expenditure by 30% or about $15 million per month.
It is only the first wave of job losses, with 695 more positions expected to be dissolved later this year.
Already 122 employees have "exited" under the cuts with 166 more in the process of taking voluntary redundancies, the Electrical Trades Union said in a statement.
A further 412 jobs are still to go under the current bundle of cutbacks with some workers having to wait until October 12 to learn their fate.
ETU deputy secretary Neville Betts said others would have to reapply for their jobs under an expanded "spill and fill" model.
"Almost 400 workers will become 'redeployees' under the plan, which we were today told means they will be provided with between one and four weeks of career transition training, then forced to go on leave - utilising whatever annual leave or long service leave entitlements they may have," he said.
"Even worse, many workers have been left in limbo after today being notified that their position is 'potentially impacted', but that they will need to wait until October 12 to find out if they will be relocated to another depot, either locally or elsewhere in the state, or made forcibly redundant.
"It is a process that shows complete disregard for the years of loyal service provided by workers, and pits them against each other in a desperate bid to keep their job.
"The fact that Essential Energy have today told employees that they can avoid this spill and fill process by putting their hand up for a voluntary redundancy is also particularly distressing, and is nothing short of blackmail."
The company will also close 10 depots, none of which is on the North Coast.
Essential Energy has been contacted for comment.
ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK
North Coast job cuts
Grafton - 15
Lismore - 9
Coffs Harbour - 9
Casino - 6
Kempsey - 6
Murwillumbah - 4
Tweed Heads - 4
Ballina - 2
Kyogle - 2
Nambucca Heads - 2
Maclean - 1