Locked-out Yallourn employees return to work

Seventy-five workers who were locked out of Yallourn Power Station for nearly 100 days without pay have returned to work after voting on an in-principle wage and conditions agreement.

Energy Australia locked the workers out of the plant in June, following industrial action by employees aimed at limiting power output.

At the time, CFMEU Mining and Energy Division District President Luke van der Meulen told Australian Mining the union had been involved in an industrial dispute with the company for over 12 months.

“It’s not about money,” he said.

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

“Energy Australia has reneged on a previous commitment to improve conditions.”

The ABC reports CFMEU members voted on an in-principle wage and conditions agreement which has ended the lockout.

Van Der Meulen said the workers are happy to be back at work and back on the payroll.

"…. just about all the 75 [workers] turned up this morning with their families, there was lots of balloons and streamers and quite a celebration to welcome the people back to their normal shift work,” he said.

"The vote will be edited and concluded, during this week, I'd imagine it will be circulated by the end of the week, members would be looking at the document over the following week, and I'd say the agreements would be voted up a week after that.”

Energy Australia managing director Richard McIndoe welcomed the end of the lockout.

“The proposed EBA achieves the right balance between appropriately recognising the work of employees, acknowledging that they have not had a pay rise in over a year, maintaining sufficient flexibility to meet future challenges and controlling costs for customers,” McIndoe said.

“While it has been a long and difficult path, it is important that we focus on working together to secure the future of Yallourn and support all the jobs on site.”

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