Friday, March 27, 2009


First strike in privatisation battle

Brian Robins, smh

March 28, 2009 - 1:45PM

Workers at Vales Point power station near Newcastle have voted to go on strike until first shift on Saturday, to protest the State Government's plans to privatise the power industry.

A meeting of rank and file members was held just after midday, voting overwhelmingly to strike over the plans, which affect electricity retailers with output from the generators to also be sold off privately.

This is the first round of industrial action in the campaign to block the new privatisation plans of the Rees Government.

An earlier plan to sell of both electricity retailers and generators brought down former Premier Morris Iemma, who had backed those plans strongly, along with his Treasurer Michael Costa.

Iemma was replaced as Premier by Nathan Rees, who has introduced a more modest privatisation proposal. While selling the electricity utilities, the Government does not propose to sell the generators into private hands, just the `rights' attached to the output produced by the generators.

Today's mass meeting was addressed by State MP's John Kaye of the Greens and also Independent MP Greg Piper.

"This is the first shot in what will be a long campaign," Mr Kaye said.

A spokesman for Delta Electricity, which operates the Vales Point power station, said operational staff remain on site, and output from the power station will not be interrupted.