EnergyAustralia and the CFMEU are expected to renew conciliation at the Fair Work Commission to begin next Tuesday, 2 July, in a bid to reach a workplace agreement with operation and maintenance employees at Yallourn Power Station.
Group Executive Manager, Operations and Construction, Michael Hutchinson said EnergyAustralia was committed to reaching a new EBA for Yallourn operators and maintenance workers.
“We remain ready to negotiate with the CFMEU along with the other unions representing our maintenance and operator employees at the Yallourn power station,” Mr Hutchinson said.
“In late May, we initiated conciliation through the Fair Work Commission. Conciliation was parked on 19 June after the CFMEU broke their commitment not to escalate industrial action. However we have remained open to discussions.
“Yesterday, we contacted the Fair Work Commission and we plan to return to conciliation again next Tuesday.
"To conclude this EBA we will need to see greater flexibility and focus on genuine negotiation from the CFMEU."
Mr Hutchinson called on operators at the ‘protest camp’ outside the power station to allow other employees to enter the site without being harassed.
“We remain concerned about reports of the bullying and intimidation of EnergyAustralia employees by power station operators,” he said.
“There have been several instances of bullying and harassment during the past few months of those EnergyAustralia personnel who have been working tirelessly to protect the 425 other jobs at the Yallourn site.
“It is particularly disappointing that EnergyAustralia staff have now been harassed and threatened as they enter the site.
“The work of these employees prevents hundreds of other workers being stood down.
“Bullying and harassment will not assist the CFMEU in their demands.”
Last Friday, CFMEU escalated its industrial action by taking control of the output of the generating units through a series of very restrictive workbans.
EnergyAustralia took employer response action, advising that it would run Yallourn without power station operators.
“The CFMEU bans sit there indefinitely, so we will continue to operate the plant with qualified and experienced EnergyAustralia personnel to protect the other 425 jobs on site,” Mr Hutchinson said.
“It is simply untenable to have the CFMEU control our generating units, and to run them in a way that causes significant financial harm to our company.
“The CFMEU’s industrial action has already cost our company more than $10 million, as the union has sought to apply more and more industrial damage and pressure to make the company surrender.
“We are determined to make progress on an EBA that will support the competitiveness of the operation and all 500 jobs of site, not just the 75 power station operators.”