Power bosses ignore safety

Issue 

The Gippsland Trades and Labour Council (GTLC) has expressed outrage at the refusal of power companies and the Victorian government to discuss health and safety in the power industry following two workplace deaths and a serious injury in the La Trobe Valley late in 2006.

On February 23, after meetings of occupational health and safety (OHS) elected representatives and industrial delegates, GTLC sent a letter requesting a meeting to Loy Yang Power, International Power Hazelwood, International Power Mitsui Loy Yang B, Tru Energy, Energy Brix Australia, Worksafe, and the ministers for energy and resources and Workcover. The two ministers' offices and all the companies except Energy Brix declined to attend.

GTLC secretary John Parker described the response as "pathetic". "Power companies are always telling workers and their representatives that OHS is their number one priority. Well … they need to face up to the blatant fact that there is a major OHS problem in the power industry… These workers want to go home every day in one piece."

The GTLC, on behalf of the power industry unions, has called a meeting on March 23 for OHS representatives and industrial delegates to discuss how to deal with the employers' disdainful attitude.