Unions representing workers at regional electricity company, Essential Energy, have had an offer to end the ongoing dispute over a new workplace agreement rejected by the company.
The combined unions had written to Essential Energy offering to resolve the ongoing dispute by having outstanding differences dealt with by the Fair Work Commission through a consent arbitration process.
In a letter to Essential Energy’s Acting CEO, Gary Humphries, Electrical Trades Union (ETU) Secretary, Steve Butler offered to agree to a consent arbitration paving the way for the Fair Work Commission to resolve the matter through a binding decision on both parties.
“Last week I wrote to Essential Energy offering to proceed to consent arbitration which would see this dispute come to an end by having the outstanding differences dealt with by the Fair Work Commission in a transparent way.
“Essential Energy responded by rejecting the union’s offer instead saying that they are determined to press ahead with their unprecedented application to cancel the existing agreement that, if successful, would result in thousands of regional workers losing their jobs or being left worse off through the loss of pay and conditions.
“It’s now clear that rather than resolve this dispute through the use of the independent umpire, Essential Energy would rather spend taxpayer’s money and continue with their callous attack on regional workers leaving these people with no option but to consider escalating the dispute.” said Mr Butler
“Sadly, through the refusal of Essential Energy to end this dispute by agreeing to arbitration, workers across regional NSW will intensify their protected industrial action through more frequent and longer work stoppages, likely to be 24 hour stoppages.
“During negotiations the combined unions have made concessions including the introduction of forced redundancy following the establishment of an internal process to afford those affected with dignity and respect.
“To date Essential Energy have rejected all offers made by the combined unions and are refusing to budge from their demands of mass sackings.” said ETU Secretary, Steve Butler
“Management’s letter rejecting a resolution to this dispute is further example of Essential Energy’s pig headed refusal to shift on their demands or attempt to bring the dispute to an end through the use of the Fair Work Commission.
“The combined unions offer to resolve this dispute once and for all has been rejected making it clear that the company has a different agenda, one that will involve continued attacks on regional workers and an escalation in industrial action.” Mr Butler said