Media Release

1 December 2016

The NSW Labor Opposition today called on the new majority owners of electricity distribution company Ausgrid to honour the five year job guarantees promised to workers as part of privatisation legislation permitting the sale of State-owned electricity companies.

If forced redundancies take place, Labor will seek to establish a parliamentary inquiry into why the new owners did not uphold the five year job guarantees.

Ausgrid’s new owners, Australian Super and IFM Investors, take control of the company from today, 1 December 2016. Australian Super and IFM Investors purchased 50.4 per cent of Ausgrid and with it management control of the company.

In June 2015, the NSW Parliament passed laws providing job guarantees for existing Ausgrid employees with the clear intention to prohibit forced redundancy for existing Ausgrid employees for five years to 30 June 2020.

Labor Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy Adam Searle MLC said:

“I call on the new owners of this important utility to give a public commitment they will honour the five year job guarantees for existing staff, and to rule out pursuing any forced redundancy measures during the guarantee period.

“Workers in the electricity sector have lived through a prolonged period of uncertainty and to make matters worse, Ausgrid management indicated earlier this year that they may pursue avenues to avoid these job protections and implement further job cuts on top of the 800 jobs already axed by the Baird Government.

“If Ausgrid’s new owners will not give a commitment to no forced redundancies, or if they attempt to exploit potential loop holes in the job protection legislation, Labor will move to establish an upper house inquiry to explain their actions and hold them to account.

“We will also introduce legislation to put the scope of the job protections beyond any doubt.

“Labor raised the issue of job losses with the Government in June, but Mike Baird refused to act in what can only be described as a betrayal of electricity workers.

“Any move by the new owners to avoid job guarantees would be completely contrary to promises made by the Premier that electricity workers would have rock solid five year job protections.

“The inaction of the Premier and his government to close potential loop holes in existing job protection legislation is yet another example of the Liberals and Nationals treating the community and workers with contempt.

“Labor is extremely concerned about further job losses in the NSW electricity sector which has already seen more than 2,700 jobs axed from Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy and Essential Energy”.