News : Essential Energy Job Losses to Hit Queanbeyan
Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Australia, March 31, 2016 -- Essential Energy is shedding 40 per cent of it's Queanbeyan workforce, about 20 jobs.
Staff were told of the changes on March 22, and were told the proposal is subject to employee consultation to examine all options.
Essential Energy's Acting Chief Executive Officer, Gary Humphreys, said some employees could be relocated locally or elsewhere in the network area, with some positions "redeployed".
"Overall we plan to retain a total of 94 positions in Queanbeyan; 67 of the positions currently located at our office in Morisset Street and 27 field and regional support positions currently based at our Queanbeyan depot in Endurance Avenue," Mr Humphreys said.
"These retained positions represent 66 per cent of total positions currently based in Queanbeyan.
"It is proposed that some Queanbeyan Contact Centre positions will be consolidated to Essential Energy's main contact centre in Port Macquarie."
The cost-cutting measures are being opposed by the union, of which members have voted to take industrial action as early as Friday.
Essential Energy has proposed a new workplace agreement that would allow the sacking of 800 regional employees as well as an unlimited number of job cuts after June 2018.
Electrical Trades Union NSW ACT sub-branch spokesman Mick Koppie said the 800 people Essential Energy wants to make "forcibly redundant" comes close to about a quarter of their staff across NSW.
"They're attacking in a number of areas," Mr Koppie said.
"There are 16 call staff members in Queanbeyan who have been told in the last week and a half that the call centre will be closed down, that there might be positions for them in Port Macquarie," he said.
Mr Koppie said there about 60-odd people employed in Network Operations in Queanbeyan, which is a 24 hour a day service.
"They're being treated separately at the moment but we share concerns that that could go downhill sometime in the near future," Mr Koppie said.
Essential Energy Acting CEO Gary Humphreys said the company was "undergoing a major organisational transformation".
"As part of the transformation program, Essential Energy announced last year that it would be consolidating and optimising office and depot locations across its distribution area.
"Essential Energy's Queanbeyan office has been operating at 50 per cent capacity - a level of under-utilisation that is unjustifiable in the current economic environment," he said.
He said after an "extensive review" of the business operations in Queanbeyan, the company was proposing to retain all System Control positions, all depot positions and almost 60 per cent of current office positions.
"A relocation of System Control to a smaller, more cost efficient premises is also being considered which would ensure this critical function for Essential Energy's network operations remains in the local area."
Workers protesting outside of Member for Monaro John Barilaro's office today in Queanbeyan demanded the MP intervene in the proposed cuts to the workforce.
"We're just disappointed that John Barilaro hasn't stuck up for us, the jobs are leaving the Monaro region and going to Port Macquarie," said an unnamed call centre staffer who wishes to remain anonymous due to fears of retribution.
"It's the human aspect of everything and the effect that it has on our lives and our families lives, we are in a small town and it is going to be difficult for more than 50 people to go out and find a job," they said.
"It is devastating for all of us, and we are just here today to fight for our jobs."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Essential Energy:
Essential Energy is a NSW Government-owned corporation, with responsibility for building, operating and maintaining Australia’s largest electricity network - delivering essential network services to more than 800,000 homes and businesses across 95 per cent of NSW, parts of southern Queensland and northern Victoria.
Published: Friday, April 1, 2016