Industrial action at Darling Downs Power Station set to intensify as Origin abuses workers’ work/life balance

Published: 15 Apr 2019

Workers at the Darling Downs Power Station have warned industrial action will intensify unless Origin Energy drops its commitment to draconian measures that prevent staff from relaxing or planning leave.

Origin Energy requires tradespeople to owe the company 100 hours in free overtime per year, with some operations employees owing 336 hours. This means workers are forced to hover within range of the power station on their days off instead of being able to plan relaxation with their families and achieve work/life balance.

CFMEU Mining & Energy Qld Vice-President Shane Brunker said workers will not back down on the issue as they are burnt out after years of this treatment from Origin.

“This dispute is not about pay. In fact the workers have already told Origin they’re willing to forgo a salary increase in the first year to remove the hours owing,” Mr Brunker said.

“This dispute is about management at Origin Energy`s Power Station thinking they own their workforce and their families. Even when people aren’t at work, Origin want to keep them half on the hook.

“It’s unreasonable to expect people to live like that. This precarious employment affects the workers, their families, and the community.”

Origin Energy announced a Statutory Profit of $796 million for the half-year ended 31 December 2018.

“The company can very easily afford to do the right thing. It’s morally right to provide work/life balance to assist workers and the community on the Darling Downs,” Mr Brunker said.

“It’s sheer wage theft to insist on an employment contract that stops people relaxing with their family and friends and demanding hundreds of work hours for free.

“The unions are meeting on Tuesday night to discuss options around future industrial action.

“However, the CFMEU believes the easier option would be for Origin to simply offer these loyal workers some decency in their new enterprise agreement.”