Loy Yang B at loggerheads

A FULL scale 24-hour employee walkout at Loy Yang B power station this Friday hinges on a single word, after enterprise bargaining negotiations boiled down to one paragraph last Thursday.

The stoush between the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union and station owner operator GDF-Suez over conditions set within a new agreement escalated on Friday, as workers increased generation bans at the plant.

However by 2.30pm the ban had been lifted, after power station lawyers found a Supreme Court injunction made against generation bans at Yallourn power station last week were equally applicable to Loy Yang B.

CFMEU lead negotiator Greg Hardy said it had informed Loy Yang B management the workforce planned to completely shut down generation at the plant at a minute past midnight Friday morning as part of a 24-hour stoppage.

He said while there was overall agreement on the newly negotiated EA, the parties were at loggerheads over a clause in which any future changes proposed by the company could be made without employee approval.

“While the company is offering consultation with the workforce (on any changes) we want our consultation and our agreement to those changes,” Mr Hardy said, stressing it would not give workers veto powers.

“The workforce is very passionate about this ‘agreement’ inclusion in the EA, but the company is not prepared to accept it, which leaves us with little option but to test the will of the parties. The workforce is prepared to go all-in on this issue.”

Employees had been actioning 20 per cent generation bans for 12 hours every day across the power station’s two 525 megawatt generation units since early February; they however dropped production further to 320MW per generator Friday morning, before being forced to returned to full capacity that afternoon.

The CFMEU has since filed notice employees intend to implement ‘negative’ bans at the station this week, which are not prohibited by the Supreme Court injunction, such as a refusal by employees to ramp up production once it has dropped after peak periods.

A GDF-Suez spokesperson did not return calls prior to deadline.