Plug pulled on local Essential Energy jobs

IN the latest round of Essential Energy job cuts, 18 employees on the Northern Rivers have been told not to turn up to work on Monday because "there is no meaningful work for you to perform."

The list of cuts includes four jobs from Casino, six from Lismore, two from Murwillumbah, three from Tweed Heads, one from Tenterfield and one from Kyogle.

The "redeployees" were given a letter on Tuesday that said they had until Friday1 to remove any personal belongings from their workplace and that their access to the work site would be deactivated from Monday, October 19.

In addition to being on call with only four hours to make themselves available, employees were told to minimise any accrued annual and long service leave.

Electrical Trade Union secretary Steve Butler has labelled the cuts "brutal".

"Calling people into a meeting and telling them that they have just three days to clear out their belongings, that their workplace access will be disabled and that they are not required to attend work, is an appalling way to treat loyal workers," he said.

"These workers can't continue under these circumstances indefinitely, and Essential Energy has a moral responsibility - not only to these affected employees but to the broader community - to come clean and tell people what their real plans are."

The redeployees will receive their base rate of pay at home and have the option of attending a four-week "career transition coaching" program.

Under Essential Energy's current arrangement they can't issue compulsory redundancies.
However, that could change after the Fair Work Commission delivers its ruling on whether the company can impose forced redundancies.

The energy company has announced there are still 234 "unfunded" positions remaining across the state, including 152 redeployees and 82 other positions that will be subject to a merit-based selection process.

Essential Energy has blamed the Australian Energy Regulator for cutting revenue by 25% and operating costs by 30% backdated to July 2014.



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