AGL threatens Loy Yang power station closure in Victoria

Energy supplier AGL has threatened to shut down its Loy Yang coal-fired power station and lock out its entire workforce, according to a report by The Sydney Morning Herald.

The report states  that proposed union action would mean closing down Victoria’s biggest energy plant from Monday, May 15 – plunging the state into an energy crisis.

Based in the Latrobe Valley, Loy Yang A power station and mine provides more than half of Victoria’s energy.

The plant received notice on Wednesday from the Electrical Trades Union of “consecutive stoppages” from 12am on May 15, AGL Loy Yang general manager Steve Rieniets confirmed.

“The proposed industrial action would compromise the safe operations of the plant and would ultimately put Victoria’s power generation at risk,” Rieniets reportedly said.

“We have no other option to resolve the bargaining dispute other than implementing this lockout. We need to lock out the entire site simultaneously with the industrial action, this will allow us to shut down the station in a systematic way to protect equipment from being damaged.”

It is not the first time AGL has threatened to lock out workers and shut down the plant.

The last event like this came in response to a proposed 24-hour strike during the Christmas period last year but was averted via emergency government intervention.

The SMH also reported that hundreds of workers at Loy Yang “twice knocked back large pay rise offers of 20 per cent over four years” over concerns about company’s plan to “slash minimum staffing levels”.

“We have no other option to resolve the bargaining dispute other than implementing this lockout,” Rieniets continued.

“We need to lock out the entire site simultaneously with the industrial action, this will allow us to shut down the station in a systematic way to protect equipment from being damaged.”