WORKERS across the electricity and local government sectors voiced their concerns at a quarterly meeting of the United Services Union (USU) in Orange on Friday.
After the Fair Work Commission granted Essential Energy the power to implement 600 forced redundancies by June 30, 2018, USU general secretary Graeme Kelly said it remained unclear how many of them would be frontline electrical workers and how many would be truck drivers, clerical workers and machine operators.
Essential Energy can also authorise an unlimited number of voluntary redundancies during that period and an unlimited number of forced redundancies from July 1, 2018.
The network provider hopes to halve its workforce.
“Essential Energy has always been profitable and will always be profitable, it’s just a question of how profitable you want to make it, but you can’t keep slashing and burning jobs,” he said.
The commission acknowledged those left without jobs would find it hard to secure other work where they lived because of the degree of specialisation and they would likely be forced to move or retrain.
Mr Kelly said the USU took a mixed approach on council amalgamations, supporting those councils who opposed mergers and helping merged councils make their ventures work.
“Councils are obliged under the Local Government Act to employ all those people who were employed at the time of the amalgamation for a minimum of three years, but we are hearing talk of contracting services and we will endeavour to find an alternative,” he said.