Mining & Energy Union members will begin protected industrial action at the Kogan Creek power station this Thursday the 21st of September.
The union representing the majority of workers at the Kogan Creek power station attended the Fair Work Commission on Tuesday and were granted orders to take protected industrial action after negotiations dragged on with CS Energy today with no direction from the State Government on the impact of the Queensland Energy Workers’ Charter on enterprise bargaining under the future energy plan.
The Mining & Energy Union (MEU) which represents operators, fitters, electricians, and power workers at the highly efficient ‘supercritical’ power station, one of the newest, and biggest on the national grid, says members have been left with little choice.
Industrial action will compound the current critical shortage of energy security due to shutdown work at several of the units at Callide Power station and at other plants.
This may lead to widespread power disruptions in Queensland, as the Kogan power station near Chinchilla supplies 10% of Queensland’s power and much of northern NSW.
At issue is CS Energy’s inability to abide by the freshly inked Queensland Energy Workers’ Charter* and no clear direction from Government which ensures workers at coal fired power stations are provided job security, career development to new technologies, and retention and attraction initiatives as the Worker`s Charter requires as the Queensland energy plan unravels.
There are over 120 workers at Kogan Creek power station and another 80 at the Kogan mine which supplies coal to the facility, not to mention the local community support workers. These jobs are essential to nearby Chinchilla and other local communities.
It is immoral in this day and age when a Casual employee at Kogan earns less money than a permanent employee, MEU members at Kogan want guarantees they won’t be replaced by contractors and a fair distribution of attraction and retention provisions in the EA so the Kogan plant can continue to operate safely and efficiently.
MEU Queensland District Vice-President Shane Brunker says the situation has the capacity to escalate quickly and affect power generation across Queensland.
“The Queensland Government need to get around a table with the Unions and CS Energy, which it owns, and resolve how the Queensland Energy Workers’ Charter will provide security and a future for the Kogan workers,” says Mr Brunker.
“CS Energy need direction from Government at the negotiating table to finish these negotiations otherwise there will be dire consequences for energy security running into the peak period of summer power generation in this state.
“This round of EA negotiations are critical to the largest Union membership in Queensland generation industry and given the challenges ahead with the transformation of our industry and we have to get it right, the MEU are “fighting today for our tomorrow”.
“We start negotiations with CS Energy for the Callide replacement EA in September and Tarong in January 2024, so our membership across the State are aware this EA and future agreements are the precedent for the industry and the future for their industry and communities.
“The MEU will not stand by and let the state-owned assets become another victim of precarious employment and contracted out work which is to the detriment of young Queenslanders and regional communities’ future.
“The State Government needs to decide if the Queensland Energy Workers’ Charter means something, or if it’s not worth the paper it’s written on.
The Fair Work Commission has provided the order allowing for protected industrial action and there was a strong yes vote by the membership, accordingly the MEU have submitted action items to commence this Thursday 21 September,” says Mr Brunker.
Contact: Shane Brunker 0419 472 325
*Queensland Energy Workers’ Charter is attached.