Fair Work Commission orders CFMEU back to work

AGL's Loy Yang Power Station (Latrobe Valley Energy Hub)
AGL's Loy Yang Power Station in the Latrobe Valley

AGL Loy Yang has welcomed the Fair Work Commission’s intervention with alleged illegal unprotected industrial action by the CFMEU, which threatened operations at the power plant.

On Sunday, the Commission issued an interim order forcing the CFMEU and members of the Loy Yang workforce back to work.

AGL Loy Yang lodged a Section 418 application with the Commission on Saturday, July 9, after struggling for more than four days to fill the roster to staff the power station. Inability to fully staff the station has only occurred one other time, in 2013, which was also related to an issue with a CFMEU delegate.

The alleged unprotected industrial action has taken place about a week after the Commission, in an historic ruling, dismissed the CFMEU’s Protected Action Ballot Order application on the grounds it was “not satisfied the CFMEU has been and is genuinely trying to reach agreement” with AGL Loy Yang.

AGL Loy Yang general manager Steve Rieniets said he was extremely disappointed with the disruption.

“Millions of Victorians rely upon AGL Loy Yang for reliable mid-winter power supplies and generation must continue unimpeded,” he said.

“We have been negotiating a new Enterprise Agreement for almost a year and are currently participating in a conciliation process with the CFMEU with the assistance of the Commission, in the hope of coming to an agreement.

“We are seeking an agreement that balances the long-term interests of the AGL Loy Yang business, its employees, the community, and electricity customers. That process has been frustrated by a series of unrealistic claims by unions that add unnecessary costs, reduce productivity and further restrict how the business is run.”

Commissioner Clancy will hear further evidence at a hearing this Thursday, before making a ruling on whether the CFMEU and other members have taken unprotected industrial action.

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