Workers at Latrobe Valley power plant have demanded $180,000 annually for their walk to work from a carpark on a four-day week basis.
In addition to the annual pay, the workers also demanded considerable superannuation deposition of funds to secure their future. Electricity provider AGL has raised concerns over the issue and said that accepting such demands of workers would pose adverse effect on their competitiveness, leading to increase in electricity prices.
The workers’ demands have been backed by the Construction Forestry Mining and Electricity Union (CFMEU). Hence, they have demanded a 20 percent rise in pay at regular intervals of four years, making the average salary reach a limit of $180,000. In addition, they also demanded a provision of an eighth day fortnight to make up for longer working days as specified in the new agreement, bringing overall payment to more than $200,000 including the overtime amount.
AGL’s executive general manager of group operations Doug Jackson mentioned the demands as “outrageous.” He said the workers were treating them as “hostage.” “Cost of running our business show up on the cost we have to charge our customers, or the savings we pass on to our customers and that is why we want to be low-cost,” he said as quoted by Herald Sun. “We’re committed to bargaining in good faith but we’re not prepared to continue to pay these outrageous claims.”
The spokeswoman at AGL stated on Friday that the claims made by the workers’ union were unacceptable and they do not reflect the reality of the current financial conditions and changes affecting the industry. CFMEU Mining and Energy Division Secretary Geoff Dyke said that the agreement might result in around 40 job cuts. He said that the workers were demanding a ‘walk to work’ pay because they have been asked to wear safety gear prior to entering office.
The rule seemed problematic for the cyclists and staff members working outside the plant. “The union’s initial response was that if AGL wanted to direct employees then it should only be able to do so when they are on paid duty,” Dyke told AAP.