MP URGING ESSENTIAL ENERGY & UNION TO GO BACK TO NEGOTIATING TABLE

IN the wake of yesterday’s Fair Work Commission determination, which has the effect of preventing Essential Energy from reducing its employee numbers through forced redundancies, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall is urging Essential Energy management and the NSW Electrical Trades Union (ETU) to begin good faith negotiations for a way forward.

“As a local MP who opposed the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) draft and final electricity network determinations because of the detrimental impacts it would have on rural communities, I am pleased with yesterday’s decision,” Mr Marshall said.

“While aspects of the terrible AER determination are being appealed, Essential Energy does have to respond and make changes and I would urge the company to now head back to the negotiating table with the ETU and come to an agreement which balances the interests of our local employees, our rural electricity customers and the integrity and safety of the distribution network.

“I have met with Essential Energy senior management and the leadership of the ETU and have personally encouraged them to discuss an outcome, rather than heading off to commissions and courts, which costs everyone significant dollars.”

Mr Marshall said the recent agreement struck between the management and the employee union at the Illawarra’s BlueScope steelworks was an example of what could happen with both parties negotiate in good faith in the interests of employees and the long term viability of the business.

“The agreement wasn’t struck quickly or easily and not without some pain on both sides, but it was concluded successfully and there’s no reason, with goodwill from both parties, that a similar beneficial outcome cannot be reached in this situation,” he said.

“As with all negotiations, both sides have a give a little and I am pleading with Essential Energy management and the ETU to do just that when they head back to the negotiating table.

“I will continue to do what I can as the local MP to ensure that whatever happens, the safety and reliability of electricity supply is not compromised.”

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