Christmas day strike

THE Electrical Trades Union has called a one-hour strike at Loy Yang on Christmas Day, just days after the CFMEU announced and subsequently cancelled industrial action at the brown coal power station.

“The unions are ramping up their protected industrial action to secure an agreement with AGL,” ETU Gippsland organiser Peter Mooney said of the energy operator’s pursuit to terminate a bargaining agreement in the Fair Work Commission.

He said 25 December was chosen to minimise disruption to power supply and workers would also introduce bans on overtime and working higher duties.

“We want AGL to come back to the table, sit down with all the unions so everybody is satisfied and can come to an agreement.”

It follows the CFMEU calling a 24-hour work stoppage for 28 December, but later withdrawing notice after the operator announced it would lock out the workforce.

The State Government also made an application to the Fair Work Commission to terminate the action, concerned about the threat to Victoria’s power supply.

Loy Yang general manager Steve Rieniets said the company was disappointed about the latest action after trying to negotiate with unions for 18 months.

Mr Rieniets said workers had rejected pay rises of more than 20 per cent on two occasions, as well as “generous” work benefits and job security in the form of no forced redundancies.

“Industrial action won’t solve this situation and while we don’t anticipate any electricity supply disruptions as a result of this action on Christmas Day, longer term, industrial action will inevitably put the security of supply at risk,” he said.

“We reject that there is any need to take industrial action at Loy Yang A.”

Industrial Relations Minister Jacinta Allan said she had been advised the industrial action would have no impact on Christmas Day electricity supply.

“We are ready to intervene and protect Victorians if the action increases or if it threatens power supply,” Ms Allan said.