Fred Nile demands no forced redundancies clause in poles and wires sale contracts

by admin on July 13th, 2018

filed under 南京夜网

Christian MP Fred Nile wants job guarantees for electricity workers written into lease contracts. A fight has erupted over forced redundancies at electricity companies being partially privatised by the Baird government, in what is shaping up as a potential complication for the impending $10 billion lease of distributor Ausgrid.
Nanjing Night Net

The Electrical Trades Union is warning a loophole in legislation allowing the lease of 50.4 per cent of Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy puts at risk a five-year job guarantee for workers secured by Christian Democratic Party leader, Reverend Fred Nile.

Mr Nile is demanding NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian include a ban on forced redundancies in lease contracts for the two “poles and wires” companies.

He is even offering to appear as a witness for the union before the Fair Work Commission to prevent any forced sacking of electricity workers.

“I am supporting the ETU in doing what we can to force the government to acknowledge the original proposition that workers have five-year guaranteed employment with the sale of the poles and wires,” he told Fairfax Media.

The job guarantee was secured by Mr Nile last year as a condition of his support for the Baird government’s electricity privatisation legislation in the upper house.

But Ausgrid has written to the union arguing that forced redundancies can be included in a new workplace agreement struck under the Fair Work Act.

Mr Nile will ask Ms Berejiklian to guarantee that a clause explicitly banning forced redundancies is included in the lease contracts.

Ausgrid and Endeavour say they need to significantly reduce their workforces after a ruling by the Australian Energy Regulator slashed how much they can charge NSW electricity customers.

Mr Nile’s change could force the companies to offer higher voluntary redundancy payments or redeploy existing workers who otherwise would have lost their jobs.

On Sunday, Ms Berejiklian said: “The transaction enabling legislation offers a number of protections for employees and of course the businesses will comply with the legislation.”

An Ausgrid spokeswoman said the company “will abide by every aspect of the NSW government’s Electricity Networks Assets legislation, including employment guarantees for our workers”.”The employment guarantee in the legislation sets out an appropriate staffing level of 3570 full-time equivalents for Ausgrid to allow us to provide a safe, reliable and efficient supply of electricity to our 1.7 million customers,” she said.”It allows us to reduce our staffing levels via voluntary redundancy, by agreement or in accordance with the Fair Work Act.”

ETU secretary Steve Butler called on Premier Mike Baird to “show good faith” and ensure the job protections agreed to with Mr Nile are enforced.

“When Mike Baird wanted his privatisation plans approved, he had no problem agreeing to the provision of five- year job protections at Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy,” he said.

“Yet a year on, and while Ausgrid is still in public ownership, we have already got management indicating they plan to exploit a loophole that they hope will allow unfettered cuts to jobs.”

The dispute further complicates the Ausgrid transaction, which is already beset by concerns over the potential security implications if Chinese government-owned State Grid Corporation is the successful bidder. The other expected bidder is Hong Kong-based Cheung Kong Infrastructure.

Independent senator Nick Xenophon has written to federal Treasurer Scott Morrison asking if advice has been sought from ASIO and defence about a successful State Grid bid for Ausgrid.

In an unusual move the NSW government has reportedly allowed bids for Ausgrid, which are due on Monday, to be conditional on approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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