Ergon Energy confirms 500 jobs to go by June 2013
UPDATE 2pm: Ergon energy says it will continue to maintain frontline services to customers through the use of internal and external resources to manage costs and risk.
The electricity company has confirmed 500 jobs will be cut by June 2013 including employees, labour hire and contractors.
A company spokesman said the size of the workforce would depend on work load, not historical resourcing levels.
Ergon Energy says it has reduced its capital and operational expenditure because electricity consumption and peak demand are well below levels forecast in their regulatory determination.
In a statement, acting corporate communications manager Mark Timmerman said the reduced forward works program meant the company would need fewer people to deliver and support it.
"We have to make some difficult decisions to ensure we are a prudent and efficient business that delivers affordable electricity to customers," said the spokesman.
Employees covered by Ergon's industrial agreement, about 97%, remain covered by a no forced redundancy provision.
This means if an employee's role is made redundant they have the option to remain with Ergon Energy and seek redeployment.
"We don't believe it will impact on our ability to service customers and respond in times of disaster," Mr Timmerman said.
UPDATE 11.30AM: The Services Union secretary Kath Nelson said 143 permanent positions at Ergon Energy will be cut by Christmas this year.
She said employees across the state in strategic services and finance, works enablement (middle management), operations and workshops were likely to be affected before Christmas.
About 70 labour hire contracts employees were likely to be affected as well.
She said there wasn't a breakdown by region on the number of employees affected.
"The thing that concerns us is, you can't do frontline work safely without backline staff," she said.
10.30AM: ABOUT 500 jobs will be axed at Queensland's electricity supplier Ergon Energy between now and June 30, The Services Union says.
A union spokeswoman said an announcement was made yesterday by the Rockhampton-based electricity supplier, who says the majority affected are due to lose their jobs before Christmas.
Ergon Energy's announcement comes after a previous announcement where 52 meter-reader jobs will now be contracted out with those permanent employees to be made redundant.
Secretary of The Services Union Kath Nelson said following the 15,000 job losses in the public sector, and the slashing of funding and job losses in the social and community sector, the Government Owned Corporations were now in the firing line.
Ms Nelson said Ergon Energy was following in the footsteps of Energex, who recently announced they would cut up to 845 jobs.
She said it was unknown how many jobs would be lost from the Rockhampton region at this stage.
Stanwell Corporation, which runs the Tarong Power Station, is axing 64 jobs.
"This further jeopardises the state's electricity network," Ms Nelson said.
"We are talking about the workers who deliver Queensland's electricity to all of our communities losing their jobs, which are extremely alarming especially as we come closer to the unpredictable storm season.
"The Sommerville Inquiry gave very clear recommendations after the 2004 fiasco, that we must have the ongoing upgrade and maintenance of our electricity network.
"This comes at a time when regional communities are already suffering and workers will now face an ominous Christmas with little security about their futures."
A response is being sought from Ergon.