Slashing costs: Ergon to cut almost 100 workers

ALMOST 100 Ergon Energy workers will be cut from the state-owned power supplier as it tries to cut staff costs despite fierce opposition from unions.

A total of 116 roles are to be affected although an Ergon spokesman told APN that 21 would be transferred into other parts of the business.

The supplier has staff in depots, workshops and power stations dotting the entire state.

Ergon has no power to force out workers but is instead offering 95 voluntary redundancies across all its depots and operations.

If Ergon cannot hit its target, some could become "employees-in-transition", where they will apply for other internal positions for up to six months.

The job cuts are the latest in a string of redundancy campaigns from Ergon Energy.

After this latest round its job cuts will total about 600, bringing its workforce to about 4500 in total.

A spokesman for Ergon said the 95 were not "front line" but in support roles so the power company's emergency response efforts would not be hindered.

It is a claim ferociously disputed by Electrical Trades Union State Organiser Stuart Traill.

"From our side of things, you can't cut this amount of support roles without it having an impact on the outdoor workforce getting their job done," Mr Traill said.

He said in times of cyclones or major storms, that is when these shortfalls will be felt.

Mr Traill said Ergon's push to save staff costs was a pre-cursor to the government attempting to privatise the supplier.

Acting Energy Minister Andrew Cripps said the union was running a "ridiculous scare campaign".

He said Ergon would not be privatised during this term of government, and the LNP would not seek support to sell it ahead of the election.

The former Bligh Labor Government's decision to sell state assets was considered key to its downfall at the 2012 election.

Ergon has depots and workshops across the state including Mackay, Rockhampton, Toowoomba, Gladstone, Moranbah, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Warwick and Moranbah.