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CFMEU dispute threatens Victorias electricity supply


Source: The Australia, 12 July 2016

The militant energy and mining union has been ordered to end ­allegedly illegal industrial action at a coal power plant in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley as an ongoing dispute threatens the state’s electricity supply.

The Fair Work Commission issued an interim order against the Construction Forestry Energy and Mining Union, ordering for workers to return to normal working conditions at the Loy Yang A power plant, operated by AGL Energy.

Some of the union demands in the year-long dispute include an $180,000 average wage for a four- day week, superannuation contributions of 14 per cent, and a $15-a-week mobile phone allowance.

The union has dropped a previous claim in which it requested workers be paid for the time it took to walk from the car park to the site.

The 2210-megawatt brown coal plant, about 150km southeast of Melbourne, supplies 30 per cent of Victoria’s electricity.

AGL went to the independent umpire at the weekend alleging the CFMEU engaged in unprotected industrial action on the plant, which employs about 600 people. This has been denied by the union.

AGL claims the CFMEU has prevented the company from being able to “adequately staff the power station” by banning members from working overtime.

It came after the Fair Work Commission last month dismissed the CFMEU’s demands for the right to vote on a legal strike on the site, finding that it was “not satisfied the CFMEU has been and is genuinely trying to reach agreement” with AGL.