Fair Work Commission terminates Loy Yang strike plans

AGL Loy Yang
AGL Loy Yang

The Fair Work Commission has terminated the Electrical Trade Union’s planned protected industrial action at Loy Yang.

The Victorian Government made an application to the FWC for the termination, after the state’s power supply was put under threat.

Last week, AGL announced its intention to take employer response action in response to the proposed strike by the ETU.

In a statement on May 4, AGL said it had received notice that protected action involving an indefinite number of consecutive stoppages on the performance of all work will commence from midnight on Monday, May 15.

AGL Loy Yang general manager Steve Rieniets said the proposed industrial action would compromise the safe operations of the plant and would ultimately put Victoria’s power generation at risk.

In the statement, AGL announced its intention to lock out workers from the Loy Yang A power station site from May 15.

“We have no other option to resolve the bargaining dispute other than implementing this lock out,” Mr Rieniets said.

“Our priority must always be the safety of our employees, our operations and the community.

“As a consequence of the proposed action, AGL Loy Yang will not be able to continue operations. This will require both the Loy Yang A power station and the mine be shut down.

“We need to lock out the entire site simultaneously with the industrial action, this will allow us to shut down the station in a systematic way to protect equipment from being damaged.”

AGL has been bargaining for a new enterprise agreement at the Loy Yang site for nearly two years.

In this time, AGL Loy Yang employees have twice rejected proposals which include wage increase offers of over 20 per cent over the next four years.

Mr Rieniets said that as a result of the Fair Work Commission’s ruling today, neither AGL’s or the ETU’s action will proceed.

“We accept the Fair Work Commission’s decision. Our preference has always been to reach an agreement during negotiations, which have been underway for almost two years,” he said.

“We are hopeful of a resolution that enables AGL Loy Yang to continue to provide reliable energy to our customers as the energy transition occurs.”

AGL will now enter a 21-day conciliation period, with a view to resolving the matters between AGL Loy Yang and the Single Bargaining Unit.

Any matters outstanding at the end of this period will be determined by the Fair Work Commission and a workplace determination issued.

Once finalised, a workplace determination functions like an Enterprise Agreement, for a period of up to four years.