ESSENTIAL Energy workers across the Central West are still at risk of losing their job with a NSW Government directive to halt planned cuts set to expire in August.
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In August last year NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro claimed a directive issued to halt the first 182 job cuts was ordered "thanks to the NSW Nationals in government".
However, it has now been revealed the directive had an expiry date and it will conclude on August 20 this year.
Electrical Trades Union secretary Justin Page fears Essential Energy will then be able to axe these 182 jobs as soon as the directive expires.
"What we now discover is that the directive issued to the publicly-owned company by Energy Minister Matt Kean only runs until August 20, meaning in six months time all those jobs and more could be lost," he said.
[Energy Minister] Matt Kean needs to put in place a binding directive to halt all these planned cuts, not just defer them for six months and hope the public won't notice.- Electrical Trades Union secretary Justin Page
"Matt Kean needs to put in place a binding directive to halt all these planned cuts, not just defer them for six months and hope the public won't notice."
Mr Page said it was only following community backlash about plans to slash 182 regional workers that Mr Barilaro stepped in and claimed he saved the jobs.
Essential Energy's plans to slash a further 500 jobs by 2024 are not covered by this directive.
Mr Page said more than 2000 regional jobs had been cut since 2015.
"Unless the NSW Government issues a permanent directive preventing further cuts that number could increase by another 682 in the next few years," he said.
"As a publicly-owned company, Essential Energy should be run in the interest of the communities it serves, which means holding on to the highly-skilled regional workers responsible for maintaining and repairing the poles and wires network.
"The unprecedented bushfire season caused massive infrastructure damage, highlighting the importance of having skilled workers on the ground in regional communities to respond to natural disasters like fires, floods and storms.
"Instead of learning this lesson and boosting resources, Essential Energy wants to cut its workforce further."
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