Overtime ban dispute at Loy Yang

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union has refuted claims by AGL Loy Yang that unprotected industrial action was taken by its workers last week.

AGL was granted an interim order by the Fair Work Commission on Sunday forcing the CFMEU and its Loy Yang workers back to work following allegations of four days of staff shortages due to an overtime ban.

An AGL Loy Yang spokesperson said from Wednesday to Sunday last week the company struggled to fill the roster to adequately staff the power station.

The spokesperson said if minimum staffing levels were not met the company was not able to operate at required capacity because one of the power station units could not be brought online.

“There are minimum staffing requirements at the power station and we cannot operate even one person short of the minimum,” the spokesperson said.

“Inability to fully staff the station has only occurred one other time, in 2013, which was also related to an issue with a CFMEU delegate.”

The alleged industrial action follows the rejection of a second application for a protected action ballot by the Fair Work Commission on 1 July.

CFMEU Victorian district mining and energy union secretary Geoff Dyke said the union was unaware of such unprotected action taking place.

“There has been no direction from us on an overtime ban and we are not aware of any overtime ban being implemented on site by our members,” Mr Dyke said.

“We had a hearing on Sunday and there was an interim order. They told us to put a note to our blokes to stop, we said ‘no problem’ – we don’t believe there’s anything going on.”

An application for a Section 418 lodged by AGL Loy Yang on Sunday asking the Commission to order workers to stop possible unprotected industrial action has since been withdrawn by the company.

“Since the interim order was granted by the commission we have had no further difficulties with filling the overtime roster,” the spokesperson said.

The decision is the latest development in year-long enterprise agreement discussions between the two parties.