Power workers strike for protection ahead of sale plans

WORKERS from publicly-owned electricity network companies Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy have downed their tools for four hours as part of their fight to have protections against forced redundancy implemented ahead of the NSW Government's planned power grid privatisation.

Tuesday's industrial action involved employees from Western Sydney, the Illawarra, Blue Mountains, Central West, Southern Highlands, and South Coast and the Hunter.

The Electrical Trade Union and United Services Union secretary Steve Butler said it was now more than three months since workplace agreements at both companies expired.

"The key issues here are job protections and the prevention of forced redundancies, which are a major concern for workers given (premier) Mike Baird's plan to sell a majority stake in both these companies to the private sector," Mr Butler said.

"Workers also face the looming decision of the Australian Energy Regulator, whose draft pricing determination, if imposed, would see 2400 jobs cut at Ausgrid and 700 at Endeavour Energy.

"All they are asking for is a written commitment that these companies won't force thousands of workers out of a job once they are sold off to private owners."

United Services Union energy manager Scott McNamara said workers had already made concessions to try to resolve the dispute, but the NSW Government refused to budge.

"Last month workers agreed to a reduced pay claim, complying with the NSW government wages policy of 2.5%," Mr McNamara said.

"All they asked for in return was the job security provisions that Mike Baird has claimed in the past would be part of his privatisation plan."