Australia - Power crisis - Yallourn strike set to widen : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


Yallourn strike set to widen
Monday 7 February 2000

Victoria's power industry last night faced the prospect of crippling industrial action as crisis talks over the Yallourn dispute dragged on.

Workers at the state's other big power stations - Loy Yang and Hazelwood - may be called on to walk off the job in support of colleagues at Yallourn, who have been locked in a 10-month dispute with Yallourn Energy over the use of contract labor.

The Trades Hall Council's power industry negotiator, Mr Brian Boyd, said the Yallourn dispute had ramifications across Victorian industry, and the union movement was prepared to support the Yallourn workers. Mr Boyd said the Trades Hall had authorised him to approach affiliated unions across Victoria with a view to taking industrial action.

A meeting of Yallourn's 580 workers will be held today at 1pm and may consider further industrial action. A Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union organiser, Mr Luke van der Meulen, said the workers, facing the prospect of a two-month lockout from midnight tonight, were committed to their position. "We are gearing up for a fight," he said.

Mr van der Meulen said if the dispute had not been resolved by 1pm, a range of measures would be considered, including escalated industrial action. "There's a possibility of expanding to other sites," he said.

Asked about the possibility of workers occupying the power station after the meeting, Mr van der Meulen said: "I don't think they will walk out like sheep."

Mr Michael Rizzo, of the Australian Services Union, said that while the union movement wanted to resolve the dispute through mediation. If talks failed, power industry workers at other plants would consider action.

Mr Boyd likened the Yallourn dispute to that involving BHP workers at Port Hedland. He said the use of contract labor was at stake in both, and unions were keen to ensure that workers' conditions were not eroded by employers trying to cut labor costs.

Union leaders also warned the Government to be careful about how it applied any return-to-work order if negotiations failed to settle the dispute. Mr Rizzo said unions were unhappy that the Premier, Mr Steve Bracks, was considering invoking powers under the Electricity Industry Act to order a return to work.

"We are not pleased about that because I think it is unfair to put all the responsibility on one party and not the other," he said.

Mr Boyd warned the State Government it would encounter defiance if it ordered a return to work on terms that prejudiced their position or entitlements.


This issue is a test of power (pardon the pun). On the one side are the big boys blessed by the Federal Government's new labour paradigm with mixed signage suitable for multi-national clap-trap and pillage, and on the other side are the Australian workers with a dogged determination to hold on their self esteem, their community and some remainder of honesty. Needless to enlarge on the feelings in rural OZ and their dislocation. If it comes to a crunch we'll side enmasse with the worker and nothing the Government can do will save their bacon. I get a feeling that it has only just begun...

Regards from Down Under

-- Pieter (, February 06, 2000


So Pietre, the people are sympathetic to the strikers and support their actions? Are they also OBSERVING the government guidelines and restrictions on power use? Like you say, this could get very interesting....good luck to you!!!!!

New H

-- new here (, February 06, 2000.

--good for you guys, kik booty and take names! Better to live without air condo for a bit, and grab your country back from the multinationals and their puppets, the "rulers". Wonder why it's gonna be legal to keep biz signs on and turn home peecee's off? Keep ya'all from communicating with each other I bet, the net has opened up a means of instant communication that is the best tool for fighting mega rich-no loyalty but to themselves-big global money. Bounce out those goons and puppets, and keep kicking 'em down the street! Yahoo!

-- zog (, February 06, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ