Ausgrid plan to slash jobs and services raises questions about NSW Government’s privatisation protections

Premier Mike Baird’s promised protections for jobs and service levels during the privatisation of publicly-owned electricity network company Ausgrid have been thrown into doubt following the leaking of a management briefing that reveals plans for massive cuts at the company.

The United Services Union said the document had revealed a three-phase plan, to be rolled out over the next year, which would include the outsourcing of call centres, the sale of real estate assets, the closure of local depots, and extensive cuts to service delivery and jobs.

USU energy manager Scott McNamara said the union’s fears about the impact of the NSW Government’s privatisation plans had been confirmed by the document, which revealed massive cuts at the business ahead of the sale of a majority of the company next year.

“Mike Baird and fellow Liberal and National Party MPs made a lot of promises before the election, including commitments that privatisation would not lead to cuts to jobs and services,” Mr McNamara said.

“But this document reveals those statements were simply false, and there is a well-advanced management plan to close down, sell off, or outsource huge sections of the company.

“If Ausgrid management are allowed to press ahead with this program, consumers will find they are calling an overseas call centre in an emergency, that the response times to their issues are reduced because local depots have closed, and that training opportunities for their kids have dried up.”

Mr McNamara said the proposals came on top of 1100 job cuts announced earlier this month, and would further decimate communities across Sydney, the Central Coast, Newcastle and the Hunter Valley.

“The Baird Government made big promises to get this privatisation past the public and through the parliament, but they now seem intent to ignore them,” he said.

“Workers are demanding an urgent explanation from the NSW Government about why Ausgrid is planning to make these major cuts – many of which appear to directly breach job and service protections.”

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