Private Yallourn talks underway

Yallourn power station owner EnergyAustralia and the union representing 75 locked out operators have met face-to-face for private enterprise bargaining talks for the first time since April.

The unexpected discussion format comes as the first meeting between parties since Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union mining and energy Victorian president Luke van der Meulen took control of negotiations from outgoing district secretary Greg Hardy.

The parties had been due to meet in the Fair Work Commission for another round of conciliation talks on Tuesday, however this was postponed on Monday afternoon until September, to allow the private talks to occur.

While Mr van der Meulen said it was a good thing to be in direct talks with the company, he declined to comment further on the nature of the discussions.

Well-placed industry sources warned against getting “too excited” about the development, noting the parties were still “miles apart” on contested clauses within the EA under negotiation.

Tomorrow marks the end of the 10th week since station operators were locked out by the company, who have continued to man a protest camp outside Yallourn grounds.

Unions representing about 40 maintenance workers, also covered by the elusive EA, are believed to be meeting with the company this week over a breakaway agreement offer made last week, which The Express understands will be rejected by unions in its current form.