Essential Energy is expected to begin forced redundancies within weeks, after the Fair Work Commission (FWC) gave the publicly owned electricity distributor permission to cut 600 jobs across regional NSW.
The decision also removed any restriction of forced job cuts from July 1, 2018, allowing an unlimited number of power workers from rural and regional communities across the state to be axed.
The FWC rejected a submission from power unions that no redundancies occur before Christmas and New Year.
The decision will allow Essential Energy to make up to 600 staff redundant by June 30, 2018; have an unlimited number of additional workers leave the company during the same time period if they accept a voluntary redundancy; and make an unlimited number of staff forcibly redundant from July 1, 2018.
It will also allow the company to replace regional employers with outsourced contractors,
Jobs cuts announced in 2015 included 12 jobs from its Mudgee, Gulgong and Dunedoo depots, as well as the closure of the Coolah depot.
The Electrical Trades Union and United Services Union have urged the NSW Government to intervene.