Power workers hit double-pay jackpot
Dozens of power workers employed by Synergy and Western Power are being paid more than double their salary, with some earning more than the Premier.
Despite an unprecedented clampdown on public sector wages, figures obtained by the Opposition show 24 employees, including 22 at Synergy, received more than twice as much as their base salary in the year to June 30.
Among them were 21 workers with a base salary of $138,877 who took home more than $280,000, including one who collected $380,566 for the year.
Premier Mark McGowan’s total pay is $355,681.
All bar two of the Synergy employees were power station controllers, who operate generators and ensure voltage, frequency and dispatch requirements are maintained.
Two Western Power employees earned more than double their salary, with a line worker on $98,709 taking home $220,000 and a team leader on $105,000 a year earning $230,000.
Opposition Leader Mike Nahan said the payments were “union-orchestrated” and demonstrated why power sector unions were so opposed to opening the electricity industry to competition. Dr Nahan accused the Government of protecting such excesses at the expense of electricity consumers.
“The only reason WA families can’t have a choice in where they buy their electricity is because union fat cats want to protect these type of rorts,” he said.
“Thousands of households are on their knees because the McGowan Government increased their electricity costs by 11 per cent but protected workers are taking home up to three times their salary.”
Energy Minister Ben Wyatt said the pay conditions had been negotiated under the previous government but it was expected Labor’s tough wages policy would be applied in future.
A Synergy spokesman said the workers’ pay was in line with the workplace agreement struck last year and reflected “base salary component plus all allowances, all overtime, leave loadings and superannuation contributions”.
“Power station operators have a high level of responsibility and operate across shiftwork patterns on a 24 hours-a-day, seven days-aweek and 365 days-a-year basis,” the spokesman said.
“These individuals are highly trained over a long period of time for the safe operation of high-energy industrial equipment.”
A Western Power spokesman said both its employees performed “specialised tasks in response to emergency and hazardous situations”.
Households are on their knees. Opposition Leader Mike Nahan