Essential Energy will give employees the opportunity to vote on a replacement Enterprise Agreement. Meanwhile, an 80-hour strike is planned from 8pm Monday.
Essential Energy will give employees the opportunity to vote on a replacement Enterprise Agreement. Meanwhile, an 80-hour strike is planned from 8pm Monday. Rob Wright

Clarence MP rejects union secretary's demands

CHRIS Gulaptis has rejected demands made by Electrical Trades Union secretary Steve Butler who said the National Party should protect regional jobs and services at Essential Energy.

The State Government owned utility is set to halve its workforce over the next three years after the independent Australian Energy Regulator presented its findings on Essential Energy's operations.

The Member for Clarence said the decision was not made by the government and Mr Butler was misrepresenting the facts.

"It's got nothing to do with the National Party, he is simply having a political crack," Mr Gulaptis said.

"They were spending too much on their operating costs and that was translating into higher energy costs.

"The AER determined that they need to review their operations and reduce their workforce as a response to that."

Mr Gulaptis added there was no question National Party members were concerned with the loss of jobs in regional areas.

"Every National Party political member wrote to the AER before the election and asked them to reconsider their determination for Essential Energy because of the impact it would have on the workforce," he said.

"The unions need to go back to the enterprise bargain table and determine what the workplace agreement should be."

Mr Butler's calls for the National Party to fight on behalf of Essential Energy workers comes after NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said everything was up for debate.

"During the next three years, the NSW Government-owned regional electricity distributor Essential Energy plans to halve its workforce, from 3200 employees to just 1600 by 2019," Mr Butler said.

"This plan will cause untold pain to regional communities as quality jobs are lost, specialist workers are forced to move away with their families, less money is spent with local businesses, and far fewer front-line workers are available to carry out maintenance and emergency response work," he said.

"This is the perfect opportunity for Mr Barilaro to demonstrate the truth to his claims that every policy is up for debate."



WATCH: Beach remains closed due to shark sightings

WATCH: Beach remains closed due to shark sightings

"Bait fish brings sharks"

Avengers film keeps cinemas super busy on first day

Avengers film keeps cinemas super busy on first day

The franchise's new instalment, Infinity War, open in cinemas today

Sudden closure of Lismore service station

Sudden closure of Lismore service station

The servo shut its doors this week

Local Partners