Deadlock continues at Loy Yang A

AGL Loy Yang says it is seeking an “impasse” with unions at a conciliation conference before the Fair Work Commission today.

Commissioner David Gregory will hold the conference between the Latrobe Valley brown coal power station operator and workplace representatives.

Six independent bargaining representatives and officials from the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, Australian Services Union and Professionals Australia will attend.

It is the latest development in a long-running dispute at the Loy Yang A power station, with unions applying to hold a protected action ballot on potential industrial action.

The company offered workers a pay rise of 21.5 per cent over four years, but 80 per cent of workers voted against the proposal with the union fearing it would put 40 jobs at risk.

AGL Loy Yang general manager Steve Rieniets said it had been negotiating with unions for 10 months, but was no closer to an agreement.

He said the company had reached an impasse with no alternative but to seek assistance from the Fair Work Commission to avoid industrial action.

“Our efforts to resolve outstanding matters included the offer of three facilitated conferences with retired industrial relations commissioners. Each of these workshops was rejected by unions,” Mr Rieniets said.

CFMEU mining and energy division secretary Geoff Dyke said claims the company had been negotiating with the union were “a blatant lie”.

Mr Dyke said whether the company had been bargaining in good faith was yet to be determined by the commissioner.

Contrary to AGL’s assertion, he said the company had not met with the union for the past two months.

“They’re not trying to reach an agreement with the workforce and this whole legal charade is about engineering a workplace determination,” Mr Dyke said.

He said it was not the union’s preference to take industrial action, but did not have any other option when the company refused to meet.

A decision by the full bench of the Fair Work Commission on the CFMEU’s protection action ballot order application is expected this week.