Locked-out Yallourn workers set up camp outside site

Workers locked out of Yallourn Power Station have set up a protest camp outside the facility in a move they say could last for months.

More than 30 Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union members set up the camp the power station yesterday.

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

The Herald reports a food tent has been set up and trailers of firewood have been transported to the site.

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.

"But we're expecting that it will grow in the days that follow."

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

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.

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

Energy Australia said employer action was necessary as union action was designed to inflict ‘significant’ financial harm.

“We cannot have the CFMEU using its 75 operators to hold our whole operation to ransom,” Hutchinson said.

Two of the plant’s four generators have been brought back online after a fire broke out shortly after the lockout on Friday.

The cause of the blaze is being investigated by police.

Image: theherald.com.au

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