Engineers strike for safety in New South Wales

Engineers at Essential Energy in New South Wales are taking protected industrial today over proposed job cuts they claim would compromise the reliability and safety of the state’s power supply.

The strike is taking an unconventional format. During the stoppage, engineers and technical professionals are planning to run a professional development seminar to further their technical capabilities, with protestors across the state connecting via webinar. Union representatives will also address the group.

The move follows Essential Energy’s application to terminate its current enterprise agreement, which could lead to up to 800 forced redundancies.

Professionals Australia senior industrial officer Margaret Buchanan said this is the first time many of the engineers have contemplated striking.

“This work stoppage is being taken as a last resort. Professionals at Essential Energy voted to take protected action after it applied to terminate the current enterprise agreement and slash 800 jobs across the state. This will compromise safety for both staff and consumers,” she said.

“Employees have lost confidence in the company which looks set to terminate 800 jobs then re-engage contracted sole traders. This amounts to back-door privitisation – employees have had enough.

“These are the people who make sure we have electricity in the grid. They make sure community and industry customers can access power when they need it. They are the professionals who plan how electricity demand will be met and prepare for spikes and lows.”