CFMEU accused of union thuggery

Victorian Deputy Premier Peter Ryan has slammed the CFMEU for taking industrial action at the Yallourn power station, accusing the union of thuggery.

Seventy five workers were locked out of the site indefinitely by Energy Australia on Friday following industrial action.

More than 30 of the locked out CFMEU set up the camp the power station this week.

CFMEU mining and energy division district secretary Greg Hardy said the protest would continue until Energy Australia agreed to meet with the union.

However Ryan used question time to attack the industrial action claiming it could cost jobs, ABC reported.

"They continue to reject a generous offer from Energy Australia, Yallourn power station," he said.

"They have been offered [a] 25 per cent increase over the next four years plus additional leave and benefits and … they have thumbed their nose at this proposal."

Ryan also warned the industrial action could hamstring future investment in the region.

"This action by the CFMEU directly threatens the prospect of jobs here in Victoria, not only those that we've got … but very particularly the jobs that can be potentially grown in our state," he said.

The CFMEU's Greg Hardy has rejected the claims.

He said workers have acted within their industrial rights.

"The workforce haven't done anything thuggish or threatening," he said.

"They're taking legitimate protected industrial action.

"Any suggestions that they've done things that are criminal or bullying is just pure bunkum."

Energy Australia group executive manager, operations and construction, Michael Hutchinson, said he was concerned the protest would prevent other workers from entering the Yallourn site.

"If workers at Yallourn were unable to access the site or we did not have the support of other qualified Energy Australia employees, we would be unable to run any units at Yallourn," he said.

Hardy denied that camp was aiming to disrupt other employees.

"The protest camp is not endeavouring to impede the flow of people to and from the site," he said.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Division District President Luke van der Meulen told Australian Mining the dispute had continued for around 13 months and centred around new enterprise agreements.

“It’s not about money,” he said.

“It’s about dispute clauses, rosters and operational structure."

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