Industrial action cuts power

ONGOING industrial action at Loy Yang B coal-fired power station has seen generation cut by 20 per cent across its two units everyday.

The daytime bans, which have reduced the two 525 megawatt generator outputs to 400mw for the past three weeks, are being actioned on behalf of the station’s 140 employees, who voted almost unanimously to escalate enterprise bargaining negotiations, which have been ongoing since mid-2012. The action’s lead union, the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, said it was the first time generation has been restricted on the site in 20 years.

CFMEU energy and mining division secretary Greg Hardy said the drawn out EA negotiations, an agreement which was due to take affect on 1 January, showed a symptomatic change in management philosophy.

“The company have been reluctant to provide the sort of EA the workforce are pursuing; the workforce want a bit more say than what the company wants to give them,” Mr Hardy said.

While Mr Hardy acknowledged Loy Yang B owner GDF-Seuz had become more conducive in negotiations since the generation bans began, the actions would continue as long a necessary.

However a GDF Suez Loy Yang B gave a different take on the negotiations, stating union officials were not prepared to take part in urgent talks to progress EA negotiations

“Management has sought ongoing discussions but union officials are only prepared to take part on an irregular basis, management remains committed to negotiating a new enterprise agreement for Loy Yang B and believes it has presented a fair and reasonable package,” the spokesperson said.