Unions are warning of massive job cuts on the way in the New South Wales energy sector.

They say over 2,700 jobs will be axed in NSW's publicly-owned electricity network companies from September.

It is reported that employees at Essential Energy will be the hardest hit, shedding 1395 jobs.

Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy employees will be affected too, in what has been described as “a massive economic blow for rural communities” by the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and United Services Union (USU).

The job cuts are believed to follow a refusal by Premier Mike Baird and Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian to negotiate with unions over an employment protections package for workers at the companies, despite pre-election commitments to do so.

The unions sought meetings after the tabling of legislation for the sale of majority stakes in Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy, and the full sale of statewide transmission business TransGrid.

“Before the election, Mike Baird told the people of NSW that he would put protections in place to ensure a new owner didn’t slash local jobs, as occurred in Victoria when that state privatised electricity assets,” ETU secretary Steve Butler said.

“Last week, Gladys Berejiklian repeated those promises, telling the parliamentary inquiry that the government would consult with all stakeholders.

“Power industry unions have made themselves available for urgent negotiations, including after hours or over the weekend, but neither the Premier nor Treasurer is willing to meet.

“The Baird Government must honour the promises made to workers and the community ahead of the election, including their pledge to consult with workers to ensure appropriate employment protections were put in place prior to legislation passing through the parliament.”

USU energy manager Scott McNamara called for help.

“We are also calling on Fred Nile — who indicated that strong employment protections would be required for him to support this sale — to make clear to the Baird Government that it must consult in good faith with the workforce of these three public companies,” he said.