Power station workers snub $3K one off payment from bosses
GLADSTONE Power Station workers were offered a $3000 one off boost to their purses if they accepted a now controversial deal.
In a letter signed by NRG acting general manager Nigel Warrington, which explained proposed changes to the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement, the company offered two monetary incentives in a bid to gain approval by workers.
But the $3000 "one off payment" and an additional incentive scheme that could deliver up to $4000 wasn't enough to twist the arms of their 300 workers.
In the letter, obtained by The Observer today, Mr Warrington said the "aging" power station needed the new EBA to bring the company in line with the rest of the industry.
But the heavily unionised workforce rejected the proposal in a ballot vote, with almost 99% voting against the changes to the EBA.
"... Our numbers and resources have reduced, our plant is aging, our industry has become more competitive, and we need to be able to respond to our operational, maintenance, and commercial challenges quickly," Mr Warrington wrote.
"We can no longer absorb the level of administration, committee processes, and dispute resolution time frames that leave matters in 'status quo' for months."
Unions have criticised the company's approach to negotiations and the draft EBA released, claiming it's the next step to "casualising" the workforce.
They say their concerns are around stripping workers of their entitlements, and new guidelines that could make it easier for the company to hire more contractors.
But NRG has refuted these claims, saying there were "no changes to normal wages and benefits" for current employees.
The letter, which was sent to every waged employee to explain the company's position , gave a brief outline of what was in the EBA.
It also offered workers a monetary incentive to approve it.
"In recognition of these changes, we have offered all employees a one off payment of $3000 on acceptance of the company's EBA proposal, and a new incentive scheme that could deliver up to $4000 per annum, based on station wide KPIs," it said.
Mr Warrington wrote the new EBA would not impact existing employees redundancy pay.
He said the only change related to "how much redundancy pay a new employee may get in the future".
"It is critical for us to be able to operate more efficiently, more productively, and be able to respond to changes quickly or we will be left behind in comparison with others in our industry," Mr Warrington wrote.
"We can no longer accommodate the restrictions and old practices embodied in the current agreement."
NRG was contacted for comment and in response, Mr Warrington said he sent the letter to employees to explain the company's position.