AMWU organiser Phil Goldby (Photo: AMWU)

October 30, 2018

Contractors involved in the current shut-down work being carried at Tarong Power Station are conducting a series of rolling stopworks as part of prolonged negotiations over a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement.

About 80 workers contracted by MHPS-ANZ Plant Services are involved in the industrial action which began on Tuesday during the day shift with two two-hour stoppages followed by a one-hour stoppage.

Similar stoppages were scheduled to occur on Tuesday evening during the night shift and then continue again on Wednesday.

Members of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union and the Australian Workers Union are taking part in the protected industrial action. understands workers from the CFMEU Construction division have also applied for protected status to join the dispute.

AMWU organiser Phil Goldby, who met with the contractors on Tuesday, said the EBA negotiations had begun last Christmas but since then a restructuring of the workforce had taken place and negotiations had broken down.

(Downer acquired the remaining 73 per cent of shares in MHPS-ANZ earlier this month.  MHPS-ANZ – formerly part of Clyde Babcock Hitachi (CBH) – was formed in 2014 between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Hitachi.)

Mr Goldby said the agreement put forward by Downer sought to increase working hours from 36 hours to 38 hours a week, which was equivalent to a pay cut of 5 per cent in real terms when lost overtime was taken into consideration.

He said non-tradespeople would be 7.5 per cent worse off under the proposed agreement, while semi-skilled would be 2.5 per cent out of pocket.

In contrast, the union had a sought a 2.5 per cent increase per year, which was “just to keep up with the cost of living”.

The EBA negotiations also involve MHPS-ANZ contractors at other sites across Queensland, including Callide Power Station, Queensland Alumina at Gladstone and Queensland Nitrates at Moura.

Mr Goldby said the workers would be voting electronically on Thursday / Friday whether or not to accept the Downer agreement.

“If the agreement goes down, we’ll make sure we’re back around the negotiating table as soon as possible,” Mr Goldby said.

Comment has been sought from Downer at North Ryde in NSW.

A Stanwell spokesperson said the corporation did not expect to suffer any delays in the current shutdown work due to the stoppages.

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UPDATE October 31: received the following response from Downer: “Downer does not have a comment at this stage”.

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