Seventy five workers been locked out of Yallourn Power Station indefinitely following industrial action on Friday, while a fire at the plant has closed down three generators.
After operators began industrial action at 6am on Friday, in the form of limiting power output, Energy Australia told them they would be locked out from midday.
CFMEU Mining and Energy Division District President Luke van der Meulen told Australian Mining the workers had been locked out indefinitely.
van der Meulan said 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.
“The workforce is angry that Energy Australia is not taking the conciliation process seriously – now the company is dramatically escalating the dispute rather than listening to the views of their workers and making them an acceptable employment offer in line with industry standards.”
Energy Australia said employer action was necessary as union action was designed to inflict ‘significant’ financial harm.
The company subsequently locked out all 75 CFMEU operators.
“We intend to utilise other qualified employees from within Energy Australia to safely run the power station,” Energy Australia’s group executive manager, Michael Hutchinson said.
“We cannot have the CFMEU using its 75 operators to hold our whole operation to ransom.”
Hutchinson said CFMEU’s demands were unreasonable and included increased leave entitlements, annualised salaries, and management business decision to be agreed with by unions or Fair Work Australia.
“We will not hand over the keys of Yallourn to the CFMEU,” he said.
“We agreed to a number of areas of compromise and provided for a paw increase substantially higher than wage growth across the economy.
“Our business is already dealing with a number of challenges.”
The fire that closed down the plant on Friday is being investigated.
van der Meulen said the electrical fault was unrelated to the industrial action.
Energy Australia told Australian Mining that only one generator was in operation this morning but that this it will not affect the supply of electricity to Victoria.