News

'Absolute disgrace': Unions, workers draw battlelines with bosses

UPDATE 4.45pm:

GLADSTONE Power Station workers are preparing for an epic battle if their bosses enforce new employee conditions described as "a kick in the guts".

Union organiser Craig Giddins said Gladstone could see a showdown similar to the size of the Carlton United Breweries dispute mid last year after the brewery axed a long-standing maintenance contract.

 

NRG power station workers meet to discuss futher action.
NRG power station workers meet to discuss futher action. Mike Richards GLA210417NRGP

NRG workers to vote on controversial agreement

The Electrical Trades Union central Queensland state organiser fronted about 50 power station workers today for a meeting about their legal rights.

This included what to do if they are "locked out" like CUB workers were.

The face off was prompted by the release of a draft Enterprise Bargaining Agreement, which was strongly opposed by the unions, for a workers' vote.

The vote was finalised on Friday and a result is expected on Monday. In a statement released to the media on Tuesday, acting general manager Nigel Warrington said NRG had made a reasonable offer to workers.

"(The EBA) proposes no changes to existing wages, hours, leave, superannuation and other benefits for existing employees and is maintaining all award protections such as consultation and redundancy provisions," Mr Warrington said.

Laying bare their stance against the changes, the unions will launch a ballot vote with the Australian Fair Work Commission next week for protected industrial action for NRG workers.

"If workers take industrial action bosses will try to sweat people out by locking them out," he said.

"People are working pay packet to pay packet, they think they can financially starve them. That won't work for these workers though."

One of the aspects Mr Giddins said was most concerning in the EBA was a two-tiered pay system which meant new workers would be paid less.

 

NRG Power Station workers met with unions today over their legal rights ahead of the result of a ballot vote results for their proposed EBA.
NRG Power Station workers met with unions today over their legal rights ahead of the result of a ballot vote results for their proposed EBA. Mike Richards GLA210417NRGP

"It's an absolute disgrace that they can play with the workers' livelihoods like this," he said.

"We will use every legal avenue available to stop the worst of what the company wants to do to the employees."

LOOKING BACK | EBA negotiations at Gladstone Power Station

>> 'Very nasty': NRG workers protest outside power station

>>'No changes to existing wages': NRG responds to power station protest

Mr Giddins worries that if it is rejected, managers will take the EBA to the Fair Work Commission to be terminated.

If so, they would re-negotiate a new agreement with the commissioner, workers and unions.

NRG declined to comment on what it would do if workers rejected the proposal.

Meanwhile, Australian Workers Union spokesperson Tony Beers proposed the power station find ways to lower the electricity bills of Gladstone households and businesses.

"Show you're backing the community, and then maybe workers will consider what you're putting forward," he said.

"We're calling on them to do it and we want them to come clean with what they can do to help our community."

EARLIER 10am:

GLADSTONE Power Station workers will have a mass meeting with union organisers today as they continue to fight proposed changes to their employee agreement.

This week NRG managers released a draft Enterprise Bargaining Agreement to workers for a ballot vote, expected to be finished today.

EARLIER |

NRG workers to vote on controversial agreement

Electrical Trade Union central Queensland state president Craig Giddins described the proposal as "a kick in the guts" to the workforce that's already at its absolute minimum.

He's expecting the ballot result, due for release today or Monday, to be a "resounding no".

Craig Giddins.NRG power station workers meet to discuss futher action.
Craig Giddins.NRG power station workers meet to discuss futher action. Mike Richards GLA210417NRGP

The proposal has divided managers and unions, with operators claiming it's a fair deal, but unions arguing the new EBA is far from acceptable.

In a statement released to the media on Tuesday, acting general manager Nigel Warrington said NRG had made a reasonable offer to workers.

LOOKING BACK | EBA negotiations at Gladstone Power Station

>> 'Very nasty': NRG workers protest outside power station

>>'No changes to existing wages': NRG responds to power station protest

"(The EBA) proposes no changes to existing wages, hours, leave, superannuation and other benefits for existing employees and is maintaining all award protections such as consultation and redundancy provisions," Mr Warrington said.

Gladstone Power Station.
Gladstone Power Station. Mike Richards GLA100215NITE

 

"The existing EBA has terms and conditions that are more than 20 years old and NRG is proposing a new EBA to bring the power station in line with the rest of the power industry."

Mr Giddins will speak with workers today in a 12.30pm mass meeting about the proposal, and the union's next moves to fight it.

"The difference between the two awards is chalk and cheese," he said.

One of the aspects Mr Giddins says is most concerning in the EBA is a two-tiered pay system that would mean new workers would be paid less.

Watch: NRG workers protest proposed changes

 

 

He added the new agreement would also make it easier for NRG to bring in contractors.

Mr Giddins said the union was looking into how they can take further action via the Fair Work Commission to "put pressure" on the company.

"It's an absolute disgrace that they can play with the worker's livelihoods like this," he said.

"We will use every legal avenue available to stop the worst of what the company wants to do to the employees."

With 98% of the workforce union members, according to Mr Giddins, he's sure the result will be a "resounding no" from the workers.

"It's an absolute travesty after being an employee of choice for the Gladstone region for all these years, and they are now resulting to these lowlife tactics," he said.

NRG has been contacted for further comment.

Topics:  gladstoneindustry gladstone power station nrg


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Theodore gun display finally a success

YOUNG RECRUITS: Xavier Bugg, Harry Anderson and Warick Dale try on helmets from around the world. Harry offered his expertise on the display, correctly naming most of the firearms.

Ongoing saga has a good result

Woman airlifted to Rocky, police launch investigation

The RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service airlifted a woman in her 20s to the Rockhampton Hospital following a high-speed rollover in Oombabeer.

Emergency services rush to two rural CQ crashes only hours apart

Local Partners

Bruno Mars brings his 24K Magic tour to Australia

But fans are going to have to wait until 2018 for the pop superstar to drop his grenade on our stages.

Most ridiculous thing about the MKR finale

High fives if you managed to watch the MKR finale right through to the end.

“COME on, just tell us who won already!”

Godfather cast reunites at Tribeca

Coppola and the cast of "The Godfather" reunited for one evening and a double feature at Radio City Music Hall to celebrate the film's 45th anniversary. The Tribeca Film Festival closed out its 16th edition Saturday, April 29, 2017, with a grand double feature of "The Godfather," parts one and two.

It was an offer The Godfather cast couldn’t refuse

Val Kilmer confirms cancer battle

Val Kilmer, left, and his son Jack attend a basketball game in Los Angeles in 2014.

Batman actor Val Kilmer tells Reddit Q&A he had cancer.

Groomed by her teacher: Mary-Rose MacColl's sexual abuse

Mary-Rose MacColl’s extraordinary new book ­rewrites the misery memoir.

Mary-Rose MacColl’s new book ­rewrites the misery memoir

American Gods a dream role for Ricky Whittle

Ricky Whittle in a scene from the TV series American Gods.

THE 100 star talks mythology and working with Ian McShane.

House Rules: "I watched as they destroyed my house"

Fiona and Nicole were both in shock at the move. Picture: Supplied

Contestant given just minutes before her entire home was demolished

Falling rents could spell doom for housing prices

What if I told you housing in Australia was getting cheaper?

Couple gets rich renovating run-down city homes

RENO RADICALS: Baden and Nelson Marino-Hall have turned three Toowoomba homes around for profit, saying the Garden City was a haven for renovators like themselves.

The couple has already turned around three homes

Townhouse pitch raises questions over 'high density'

BIG PLANS: Residents have a chance to offer their opinion on plans to build 42 townhouses at Raceview.

Developer plans 42 townhouses for Ipswich suburb

7 million dollar city homes for sale right now

3 Keira Court, Blue Mountain Heights.

Here are seven of Toowoomba's best, and most expensive, houses

'Raping and pillaging': Landlord's anger with nightmare cost

Chris Duane, who is chairman of the body corporate for Terralina Court, says insurance companies are charging too much for premiums.

BODY corporate boss unleashes on huge costs dumped on home owners.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!