More than 570 workers at Victoria’s Loy Yang power plant will receive pay cuts of up to 30 per cent, following a bid won by AGL energy to terminate a long-standing agreement.
The workers will face significant cuts to their take-home pay and superannuation, reverting to award rates.
“The award is for minimum basic electrician wages – we are not basic electricians, we are operating a major power station,” a Loy Yang worker told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Under the previous agreement, most workers were being paid between $70,000 and $180,000 per year.
Cutting wages is not the only change AGL Energy hopes to introduce; the group has also expressed a desire to implement compulsory redundancies and make cuts to minimum staffing levels, which union officials are refusing to grant.
According to AGL, the plant is facing pressure from decreasing wholesale energy prices, a shift away from coal power, and wages having spiked above inflation despite the declining market.
AGL’s head of Loy Yang, Steve Rieniets, said reforms were needed to achieve savings in order for the plant to survive.
“It’s about the efficient use of labour and removing the unnecessary costs of our business,” he told SMH.
“We need to have flexibilities to remain viable, and they [unions] are struggling to cope with that concept.”
The Loy Yang power plant serves approximately 30 per cent of Victoria’s power needs, and is a crucial part of the national energy system.