UPDATE: 'Could have killed': NRG workers back on site today

THURSDAY 11.30am:

WORKERS are back on the tools today at NRG as talks continue about safety issues raised at a mass meeting yesterday.

More than 100 workers spent two hours in the crib room waiting for a response from general manager John Abbott.

The workers were concerned about five safety issues, particularly an incident on Tuesday night in which a 60kg counterweight fell and "could have killed someone".

"We can't just do nothing and wait for one of our brothers to die on the job," AMWU delegate Andrew Lockwood told The Observer on Wednesday.

Unions believe Workplace Health and Safety officers are on site today.


NRG workers who were waiting in the crib room for general manager John Abbott have been docked four hours of pay, according to the Electrical Trade Union organiser Craig Giddins.

"This is how the company reacts to legitimate safety issues," he said.

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"The workforce is concerned for its safety as a 60kg object fell 3-4m last night and could have killed someone."

He said union delegates and safety representatives took the concerns of the workforce to the general manager and asked him to listen to the issues from the workforce waiting in the crib room.

"He refused to do it," Mr Giddins said.

"He dismissed them because he doesn't think their safety is an issue."


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But a statement released by NRG says Mr Abbott did meet with workers.

"The safety of people at Gladstone Power Station has always been and continues to be the top priority for NRG Gladstone Operating Services," the statement read.

"General Manager John Abbott and site management have met this afternoon with union officials and members of the Gladstone Power Station workforce to discuss safety concerns raised today. These discussions are ongoing."

UPDATE 2.30pm:

THE management of NRG are currently in a meeting as the 3.30pm deadline approaches.

The workers specified they wanted general manager John Abbott to explain to them how some of the equipment at the power plant was being approved as safe.

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An aerial View of the Gladstone Power Station.
An aerial View of the Gladstone Power Station. Brenda Strong

If he was unable to answer their questions by 3.30pm the workers will once again hold a mass meeting outside the plant to decide whether they leave the site.

EARLIER 1.17pm:

GLADSTONE'S NRG workers are holding a "mass meeting" demanding to speak directly with the company's general manager over safety concerns at the plant.

Concerns over safety at the plant came to a head yesterday when a 60kg counterweight fell 3m. 

One worker said the counterweight could have killed someone. He said he wouldn't stand by to wait for someone to die. 


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The workers have voted 150 to three in favour of sitting in the smoke room at the plant until John Abbott explains to them how risk assessments are carried out for the five-year shutdown, on unit vibrations, and counterweights.

If the workers don't receive a response by 3.30pm, they will head outside again for another meeting.

Another worker said: "The only place that is f*** safe in this place is the office."

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