Essential Energy workers will soon compete against one another in a bid to keep their jobs.
Essential Energy workers will soon compete against one another in a bid to keep their jobs. Tim Howard

Essential Energy gives no guarantees over job cuts

ESSENTIAL Energy has failed to guarantee any reversal in its decision to cut jobs in regional NSW as workers on the North Coast prepare to compete with each other to keep their jobs.

Yesterday, NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said after weeks of calling on Essential Energy to pull back on proposed job cuts, he was yet to receive a guarantee from Essential Energy it would reverse its decision.

The Electrical Trades Union labelled the outcome "disappointing" and said it expected firmer action on protecting the jobs of frontline workers.

In an earlier report, the union revealed workers would be forced to compete against each other to retain their positions.

A North Coast-based Essential Energy employee, who did not want to be named, said interviews could start as early as today.

"We've got to fight against each other in interviews, which I'm not too keen on because they're my workmates," he said.

"Regional areas have had their fair share of job losses and industries shutting down.

"I want to get our elected member of parliament to stand up for local jobs."

As many as 182 jobs could go across the state, with many of those on the Mid North Coast. It is believed 11 Essential Energy employees from Grafton are set to lose their jobs.

The North Coast-based Essential Energy employee said job losses would inevitably lead to a reduction in services provided by the state-owned corporation.

"In times of storms and power outages, without the same number of people on the front line to put the power back on, people are going to be without power for a lot longer," the employee said.

In addition, the personal impact on workers could be devastating.

"I've got a family, a mortgage and a kid at uni. If I lose my job it's going to be really tough," he said.

Mr Barilaro said he had written to the Minister for Energy and Environment, who has the ministerial authority to give a direction to Essential Energy to halt these job losses.

Union secretary Justin Page reminded National Party MPs they had made many promises to save Essential Energy jobs but once again were failing to live up to that commitment.