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Issue #1776      May 10, 2017

“Pure greed”

NRG Energy has taken steps to terminate the Enterprise Agreement which provides job security, as well as decent pay and conditions at the Gladstone Power Station in Queensland. Workers have expressed deep concern about the move, saying they are simply seeking to maintain their current conditions given the rising cost of living in Gladstone.

The CFMEU Mining and Energy Division Queensland district vice president Shane Brunker said Gladstone workers should not have to suffer a loss of income and conditions due to NRG`s proposed changes, including mooted closure of the power station for 2029.

“Any loss in take home pay is unjustified with rising profits for generation companies and would have a major impact on workers’ ability to provide for their family.

“This is simply about the company pre-positioning to minimise its costs when the station closes by reducing the final pay out for workers. This action by NRG is pure greed,” Mr Brunker said.

The impact on workers of NRG’s proposals at Gladstone Power Station, include:

  • Reduction in job security for permanent employees at GPS with contractor clauses and wages to staff limitations removed.
  • Providing the company power to unilaterally change rosters and working hours, leaving working no stability or certainty about their shifts.
  • A two-tier system for redundancy and Superannuation for new and existing employees, making new staff second class workers.
  • Reduction in weekend penalty rates.

Brunker also said the legality of the company’s so-called “skills-based pay” proposal is questionable given the lack of detail provided, but it is clear the company is seeking to create a loophole to make further pay cuts.

“NRG have proposed the implementation of a ‘skills based pay’ structure which has not been developed or consulted on. They demanded a vote from workers without any detail about the concept, demonstrating their heavy handed tactics on bargaining,” Brunker said.

Mr Brunker said workers are concerned and struggling to assess the impact of the changes. He said the company’s irresponsible actions had left the union no alternative but to seek protected industrial action at Gladstone and Kogan Power Stations, potentially placing Queensland’s energy security at risk.

“Both NRG and the state government-owned CS Energy Corporations are poised to take advantage in power generation in the upcoming years. The CFMEU is concerned these corporations want to increase their profits at the expense of their workers.”

Next article – Art as transformation

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