A wage rate plummet?

A letter circulated to Loy Yang employees has revealed wage drops of up to 65 per cent would occur if owner AGL successfully terminated the station and mine’s Enterprise Bargaining Agreement.

This week the company rejected claims the termination would result in an estimated 30 per cent wage reduction “irrespective of the outcome of the termination proceedings” currently held before the full bench at the Fair Work Commission in Melbourne.

However, the AGL letter provided to The Express shows mass cuts to wages and conditions should the EBA revert to the relevant modern award – the Electrical Industry Award 2010.

The document, signed by AGL Loy Yang general manager Steve Rieniets, shows a weekly wage rate of a unit attendant currently at $2787 would revert to $1014 – a drop of 65 per cent.

A Loy Yang mine worker, who asked to remain anonymous, said the company had lied and had been caught out putting out the “threat”.

The long-serving employee estimated between 150 to 200 workers would walk if the company terminated the EBA.

“They could be playing a bluff, but it’s a dangerous bluff. Victoria will go into blackout and there won’t be any (need for) industrial action by the union,” he said.

An AGL spokesperson said the CFMEU was misrepresenting comments about would could happen, in a purely technical sense if the EBA was terminated, not what AGL’s intention is.

The brown coal power station owners said there was no evidence or any suggestion it intended to reduce any employee’s pay irrespective of the outcome of the termination proceedings.

“In fact, quite the opposite. Our intention is to reach an agreement with our employees and, as the Commission has been advised, if the agreement was terminated then key conditions would remain unchanged for three months while we continued to negotiate,” the AGL spokesperson said in a statement.

CFMEU Victorian district branch mining and energy division secretary Geoff Dyke said to terminate the agreement would undermine collective bargaining, which was against the public interest.

“While it may in the short term give costs savings, it’s a productivity detriment to not involve workers in that process,” Mr Dyke said.

It follows The Express’ front page report regarding data collected from a CFMEU commissioned survey of 352 workers.

Almost all surveyed members – 97 per cent – said they opposed the termination of the EBA and almost half said they were not in a strong financial position.

AGL Loy Yang 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.

The termination proceedings continue.