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Resolution of protracted industrial dispute for AGL

1 min  26.09.2018 Dan Williams
MinterEllison acted for AGL in relation to a protracted industrial dispute culminating in unprotected industrial action at the Loy Yang A Power Station in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria.

Key takeouts


Industrial action was organised by a union official after AGL terminated its enterprise agreement at the Loy Yang A Power Station.

 

The successful enterprise agreement termination application allowed AGL to make a new enterprise agreement that allowed for crucial operational flexibility.

 

MinterEllison guided AGL through a series of legal proceedings to stop the action and to progress recovery proceeding against the union concerned.

 

In January 2017, AGL obtained a termination of its existing enterprise agreement at the Loy Yang A Power Station. Immediately after that decision was handed down, a senior union official at the plant organised unlawful industrial action that caused significant loss of power supply to the community and financial losses to AGL.

Our role

MinterEllison guided AGL through a series of legal proceedings to, firstly, stop the action and, secondly, to progress recovery proceeding against the union concerned. These proceedings had a number of unusual features, including the execution of an Anton Piller search order on the relevant union official organising the action and a successful contempt of Court application following the official's refusal to comply with the order.

The significance

The proceeding was unique in the way it joined together legal responses to industrial action with a legal strategy dealing with the forensic recovery of evidence associated with the subsequent recovery claim. Furthermore, it resulted in the relevant union official being found guilty of contempt of court and having to pay $25,000 in penalties and over $100,000 in indemnity costs associated with AGL's contempt proceedings.

The successful enterprise agreement termination application allowed AGL to make a new enterprise agreement that allowed for crucial operational flexibility not previously available to it. The steps taken by AGL to stop the industrial action that followed were critical to maintaining power supply in the short term.
Ultimately, productivity gains, enabled by the termination of AGL's former enterprise agreement termination, place downward pressure on wholesale prices, while at the same time increasing profitability for AGL.

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