Ausgrid’s new campaign to stop abuse of lineworkers

Ausgrid workers install LED streetlights in Sydney in December 2018

Ausgrid staff are featuring in a new social media campaign asking the public for support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It comes after Ausgrid crews have been abused almost daily in past weeks for continuing to carry out critical work during the pandemic.

Ausgrid has created a short film to kick-off the “Give us a Wave” campaign, with its staff reassuring customers that “we’re here, fixing the little problems now, so they don’t become big problems down the track.”

The campaign features workers around the Sydney, Newcastle and the Hunter regions holding signs saying “We’re essential workers too. If you see us, give us a wave.”

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Ausgrid chief executive officer Richard Gross said the work staff are doing is critical and it’s disappointing to see some examples of un-Australian behaviour.

“We’ve seen cases where crews have been physically blocked from doing their work by members of the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, while others have been threatened with spitting and coughing,” he said.

“Call centre staff have been bullied and verbally harassed, with some callers even threatening harm against their families.

“We know it’s a challenging time and we’re avoiding and delaying any non-essential work during this period.

“But, critical work must continue. We can’t delay it, because if we did that, it would put future power supply at risk. That’s a risk we’re not willing to take.

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“Just like every Australian, our staff have families and loved ones who are all experiencing the changes this pandemic is bringing with it.

“I am proud of each and every one of our employees, who still come to work day and night and do everything they can to keep the lights on, put our communities first and keep power secure for our hospitals and nursing homes.”

Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor recently tweeted his support of Ausgrid staff, writing: “Disappointed to hear about the abuse of @Ausgrid staff who are working hard to deliver an essential service to NSW homes-this behaviour is unacceptable. We need to support each other through this crisis #auspol #coronavirus.”

Mr Gross said while it is a worrying and frustrating time for everyone, he hopes the campaign helps customers understand why critical work needs to continue year-round.

“We are all in this together. If you see our workers in the field, give them a wave and say G’day.”

You can watch the Ausgrid film here.

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