War of words as energy workers ready for strike action
A WAR of words has erupted over planned strike action by energy workers which is due to start on Monday.
The Electrical Trades Union is calling on Essential Energy acting chief executive officer Gary Humphreys to resign after he suggested workers at the company were putting the lives and safety of community members at risk by taking industrial action.
Long running dispute
Power workers at more than 120 workplaces, depots and control rooms across NSW will take part in the action which concerns a long-running dispute over a new workplace agreement.
There will be 20 consecutive four hour stoppages - commencing at 10pm on Monday, May 23 and concluding at 6am on Friday, May 27.
Mr Humphreys appeared to temper his comments about the proposed strike action in a statement yesterday.
"Safety has always been, and will continue to be, Essential Energy's number one priority and our employees continue to deliver an excellent safety performance," he said.
Union's priority not safety
"The ETU's proposed action continues to put industrial relations strategy before safety and appears to place the union's interests as a higher priority than customers.
"Essential Energy has commenced a thorough safety risk assessment on the ETU's planned stoppages. We will continue to assess this risk and network contingency plans will be implemented to ensure the safety of the public, contractors and employees in relation to any period of industrial action."
The most recent offer from Essential Energy included maintenance of current long service leave entitlements, as well as maintaining superannuation entitlements above the Superannuation Guarantee Charge (SGC) and redundancy benefits.
However, the unions rejected this offer as "unacceptable" to its members.