April 5, 2012 / 6:07 AM / 5 years ago

Australia's Loy Yang power workers to vote on strike

MELBOURNE, April 5 (Reuters) - Workers at Loy Yang Power, which operates the largest power station in Australia's Victoria state, plan to vote on possible strike action as negotiations over hours stall, threatening to interrupt production at the station and an attached coal mine.

Loy Yang Power management and union representatives have been working on a new workplace agreement since July.

AGL Energy, which already owns a one-third stake in the Loy Yang A power station and an attached coal mine, wants to take full control of Loy Yang, buying out Japan's Tepco and investment funds for A$448 million ($459 million).

Loy Yang produces 30 percent of the southeastern state's power needs.

The union applied for and was granted approval to legally take the vote on whether to strike in a decision handed down on Tuesday by Fair Work Australia, the national workplace relations tribunal.

"There are some sticking points ... and the workforce has determined to take protected action to try and persuade the company to change its mind," said Luke van der Meulen, Victorian District President of the Mining & Energy at the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.

"Hours per week is the number one issue at the moment."

A ballot will be held in coming weeks, at which members would formally vote on whether to take industrial action. ($1 = 0.9752 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Miranda Maxwell; Editing by Ed Davies)

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