Wednesday, 17 February 2016
Even though Essential Energy was not included in Baird Government plans to privatize state electricity supply assets, the company's decision to cut its workforce and enter into an enterprise agreement which pares down its wages bill is looking less like a response to changed financial circumstances and more like an effort to make this business a more attractive privatization prize should the NSW government change its mind.
The Daily Examiner 15 February 2016:
ELECTRICITY provider Essential Energy wants to cut 800 jobs from regional New South Wales by 2018 under a draft workplace agreement.
The attempt, which also calls for unlimited job cuts after June 2018, predictably failed to inspire union delegates to sign on the dotted line.
The proposal comes after Essential Energy had announced in September there would be 60 job cuts on the North Coast, including 15 in Grafton and nine each in Lismore and Coffs Harbour.
That followed the Australian Energy Regulator's decision to cut the company's revenue by 30%.
Electrical Trades Union secretary Steve Butler said more than 1000 Essential Energy jobs had been slashed since 2013.
"Enterprise bargaining generally means that if you give something up you get something in return but it seems Essential Energy management think it's a one-way street," he said.
"Not only is Essential Energy wanting to sack people but they want to slash working conditions for remaining staff as well as implement a two-year wage freeze."
Other conditions included a ban on re-employing redundant workers within two years except for casual or temporary positions, and halving the amount workers are paid when called in for emergencies, from a minimum four hours' pay to two.
The need for outsourced contractors to be afforded the appropriate wages and conditions would also be removed, Mr Butler said.
"The NSW Government seems intent on slashing regional jobs at Essential Energy, which threatens service standards while maximising the profits they take from rural and regional customers," he said…….
Wauchope Gazette, 7 January 2016:
ESSENTIAL Energy's troubled year wrapped up with fresh questions raised about the amount of money paid to executives.
The company released its annual report in November for the 2014-2015 financial year.
Of particular public interest was the almost $4 million paid in salaries and bonuses to executives.
It stands in stark contrast to the 700 jobs the company said it would have to cut because of restrictions imposed on it by the Australian Energy Regulator in 2015.
The report shows the company delivered an operating profit before tax of $381.2 million, which was significantly higher than the target of $108.5 million......