Seventy five power workers at Yallourn remained locked out after four weeks as Solidarity goes to print. The workers have now set up a 24-hour protest camp near the power plant.
Their dispute with the company has dragged on for a year in the face of management’s intransigence. A non-union agreement was overwhelmingly rejected by the workforce in a secret ballot in April.
The company’s first offer to its workers after locking them out without pay actually offered a lower pay rise and less allowances than its previous offer.
This follows ongoing industrial action at the plant in an attempt to reach agreement since March, including a 24-hour strike and a series of work bans.
But only workers from one union at the plant, the CFMEU, have been locked out. Another 34 maintenance workers covered by other unions remain at work, although they are also covered by the same Enterprise Bargaining Agreement. “Given the CFMEU is doing all the heavy lifting here in this process, the onus now really is on those other unions to step up—none of them yet have sought protected action ballots,” Greg Hardy, state secretary of the CFMEU’s mining division told the Latrobe Valley Express.
The union’s key concern is securing a consultation clause, requiring the company to negotiate before any future restructuring or effort to cut jobs.