Emergency converage will still be available during the 24 hour strike by electricity workers.
Emergency converage will still be available during the 24 hour strike by electricity workers. Contributed by Merv Rekow

Electricity workers on 24 hour strike over wages and conditions

ESSENTIAL Energy staff will walk off the job for 24 hours tomorrow after the NSW government-owned company refused to allow an independent industrial umpire to resolve a long-running dispute.

Wates, conditions and job cuts have been part of negotiations for a new workplace agreement which began 18 months ago between the Electrical Trades Union and Essential Energy management.

Instead of coming to an agreement the company has launched legal action seeking to cut the wages and conditions of employees by getting rid of the existing workplace contract.

ETU NSW secretary Steve Butler said workers have been left with no choice but to take part in a 24 hour state-wide strike.

“The ETU has made a range of generous concessions to the company on behalf of our members, including an offer to have the outstanding matters decided by the independent industrial umpire, but the company has rejected these efforts outright,” he said.

“As a result, ETU members employed at more than 100 workplaces across NSW will strike for 24 hours from 6am on Wednesday.

“Protected industrial action is always a last resort, but when management not only refuses to negotiate, but won’t even allow the independent umpire to intervene, there is no other option available to us.

“If Essential Energy is successful in cancelling the current agreement, 800 regional jobs will be slashed overnight, wages and conditions will be cut, and consumers across rural and regional NSW will be left with lower service standards.

“Before the last election, Liberal and National MPs said there would be no cut to jobs or services, but for the last year they have remained silent as Essential Energy has done the exact opposite.

“If Essential Energy (is) not prepared to offer a fair and reasonable outcome it is likely that this dispute will continue to escalate with even longer strikes on the cards.”

Coverage will be available in the event of an emergency during the 24 hour strike period.

Employees from more than 100 workplaces and depots across the state will take part in the strike action from 6am on Wednesday, May 11, returning to work from 6am on Thursday, May 12.