The lack of progress on enterprise agreement negotiations, including 15 meetings over six months, is why workers at Hydro Tasmania are taking strike action the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) said on October 4.
Hydro Tasmania’s offer has been rejected by workers and all CEPU members’ claims have been rejected by Hydro Tasmania.
Workers started rolling strike action with a full-day state-wide strike on October 5.
The union said the action “will throw planned essential routine maintenance and outages into chaos and could even end up in rolling blackouts in some areas”.
The CEPU said the blame should be laid at Hydro Tasmania’s management team.
“Like a lot of workers around the country and the world, CEPU members have been left with no choice but to fight for a fair and reasonable outcome,” CEPU state organiser Chris Clark said.
He criticised the Hydro board for paying its executives “salaries of half a million dollars a year, plus huge 15% bonuses” while refusing to “put a fair and reasonable offer on the table for the workers keeping the lights on”.
“We live in a day and age where every time workers ask for a fair share, they get told there isn’t enough to go around.
“Workers deserve a pay increase that keeps up with the cost of living now and into the future as a bare minimum.”
Clarke said workers were not just after a pay rise but for a fair workplace culture.
He said Hydro Tasmania “has been falling apart at the seams for some time” with the procurement of substandard parts and equipment “costing millions in lost production”.
He said hundreds of years of skills and knowledge have walked out the door “due to the toxic work environment”. He also cited the Bass Link “debacle”; poor supervision of apprentices and understaffing as other problems.
The Hydro is “just another example of a failed government-business enterprise model”, Clarke said, where “management and the board are more focused on their own individual KPI-driven bonuses than delivering good outcomes for the Tasmanian community who built and own Hydro Tasmania”.
“When can workers expect that good paying jobs become the focus for creating a better future rather than a continued race to the bottom to maximise profits?”, he asked.