CS Energy rejects 'untrue' union claims, calls for end to Kogan Creek standoff
IT IS time for the unions to get serious and reach a new enterprise agreement for their members and colleagues at the Kogan Creek Power Station instead of taking industrial action, CS Energy General Manager Phil Matha said today.
The Queensland Government-owned energy company has been negotiating with unions and bargaining representatives for a new enterprise agreement for employees at its Kogan Creek Power Station near Chinchilla in South West Queensland since January this year.
The unions have initiated ballots among workers to take protected industrial action, including the right to reduce power output at the station.
"CS Energy is committed to negotiating a new agreement that delivers wage increases and improved benefits and conditions for our employees, and also helps ensure Queenslanders have access to affordable and reliable electricity,” Mr Matha said.
"Our most recent offer includes a three percent pay rise each year over the three years of the agreement, which is the maximum wage increase allowed by the Queensland Government's wages policy, and is well above the CPI and the national average wage increase of 2.2 percent.
"It also includes a number of improvements to the current allowances and benefits that Kogan Creek employees enjoy, such as increases to travel allowances, bonuses and access to an additional 10 days leave on top of normal annual leave entitlements.”
During the most recent negotiation meeting between CS Energy and unions last week (7 and 8 June), Mr Matha said the parties made some tangible progress on a number of items, but there are still some issues which stand in the way of them reaching in-principle agreement.
"CS Energy wants an agreement, not an argument. While we respect the rights of union members to take protected industrial action, I call on the unions to continue to work with us to reach an agreement and not delay wage increases and improved benefits for the Kogan Creek team,” Mr Matha said.
Mr Matha also rejected the claims that unions had made in the media about "insufficient manning” at the power station and "stripping workers of their rights and conditions”. He said these claims by unions were "simply not true”.
"We value the contribution of our employees at Kogan Creek. We are a company that cares about the safety, wellbeing and conditions of our people and this is highlighted by the high retention rate at Kogan Creek Power Station (96 percent),” Mr Matha said.
The next negotiation meeting scheduled for 21 and 22 June.