AGL lies about Hazelwood worker redeployment, union says

Hazelwood Power Station
Hazelwood Power Station

AGL is claiming the Loy Yang power plant is blocking redeployment of Hazelwood workers, the CFMEU has said today.

The union said the company has “stooped to new lows” in an attempt to discredit the current Enterprise Agreement at the Loy Yang power plant.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Victorian District Secretary Geoff Dyke said AGL are attempting to cynically exploit the workers’ predicament in an attempt to discredit an agreement they want to terminate.

“AGL should be ashamed of themselves. They are clearly trying to take advantage of the situation in Hazelwood in their latest stunt to discredit the Loy Yang enterprise agreement – an agreement they have already applied to terminate,” Mr Dyke said.

“AGL’s claims that the CFMEU is blocking ‘lateral entry’ of Hazelwood workers into Loy Yang is a blatant lie.

“Not only has the company not engaged the union whatsoever, but they are also trying to misrepresent the current agreement to their advantage.

“The CFMEU is keen and willing to promote a redeployment scheme for Hazelwood workers, and would support a negotiation with AGL to get a program across the line – but we have not been asked.”

The current Loy Yang Enterprise Agreement 2012 promotes a system of career progression where vacancies are filled from a pool of workers trained in lower classifications, to fairly promote the progression of the workforce.

However, redeployment of Hazelwood workers would not be covered under the ‘vacancies’ provisions, those workers would be extra workers or employed under a special condition of replacement.

“If employed in the Loy Yang plant, Hazelwood workers of a certain classification would simply have to undertake a plant familiarisation training and a period of mentoring with a Loy Yang worker to demonstrate they can safely operate in a High Risk plant, and perform operations in the role concerned,” Mr Dyke said.

“The agreement does not in any way contain clauses that would restrict a voluntary redundancy scheme of Hazelwood workers.”

Earlier this month, it was announced that 500 workers would lose their jobs when Hazelwood shuts down in March 2017.

The power station currently employes approximately 750 workers, 250 of which will stay on until 2023 in order to manage the station’s decommissioning and help rehabilitate the adjoining mine site