Offshore Alliance members at Chevron and Woodside are contemplating industrial action over the gas giants’ failure to agree to benchmark pay and conditions, prohibitions against outsourcing jobs to labour hire contractors and job security.
Over 150 members on Woodside’s offshore LNG platforms Goodwyn Alpha, North Rankin Complex and Angel Platform off the coast of Karratha in Western Australia's North West yesterday voted 99% in favour of taking Protected Industrial Action to progress their bargaining claims.
Negotiations have continued today (Thursday 10 August) and further negotiations are scheduled for next Tuesday (15 August). Protected Industrial Action could include a range of work bans including refusing to load tankers or vessels with LNG or condensate, up to complete stoppages of work.
Woodside has spent the last nine months in the Fair Work Commission and the Federal Court of Australia opposing Offshore Alliance members' right to bargain for an enterprise agreement where they failed on 13 occasions.
For more than three decades Woodside’s employees have been covered by individual contracts which have failed to provide workers with job security, a say in their rostering arrangements, certainty in key employment terms and industry standard pay and conditions.
Offshore Alliance Members at Chevron have still not reached agreement on job security, agreed rosters, mutual agreement on transfers to other Chevron worksites, mutual agreement on the working of overcycle, training standards, travel arrangements and rates of pay.
Members are seeking remuneration outcomes which align with benchmark industry standards whereas Chevron’s proposed remuneration terms are currently lower than a number of Tier 2 oil and gas operators operating in Australian waters.
Offshore Alliance members' PABO application relates to the Gorgon and Wheatstone Downstream facilities. Members currently involved in bargaining for the Wheatstone Platform EBA have endorsed the union filing an additional PABO application to cover the Wheatstone Platform as early as today.
Spokesperson for the Offshore Alliance, which is an alliance between The Australian Workers’ Union and the Maritime Union of Australia, AWU WA Secretary Brad Gandy says gas producers operating in Australian waters need to come to terms with the fact their workers want an EBA, and they want that EBA to have industry standard terms and conditions of employment.
“Gas producers like Woodside and Chevron might be used to throwing their weight around in countries with weak industrial laws but Australian workers have fought for over 100 years for strong industrial rights.
“The sooner these huge, profitable gas producers approach these negotiations pragmatically and get back around the bargaining table the better.
“Offshore Alliance members want a deal with industry standard pay and conditions and have either voted to endorse the taking of industrial action in the case of Woodside, or have endorsed the union to apply for orders to ballot for industrial action in the case of Chevron.
“Offshore Alliance members are highly skilled, work in a dangerous industry and work unsocial rosters which means extended time away from their families. Employers in this industry like Woodside and Chevron need to recognise this and provide them the terms and conditions of employment they deserve.
“Offshore Alliance members are willing to take industrial action and the union sincerely hopes that Woodside and Chevron have learned from the mistakes Shell made last year when a strike of Offshore Alliance members lasting 76 days cost the gas giant $1.5 billion in lost production.
“Woodside and Chevron must not continue to reject reasonable claims including Tier 1 pay and conditions and prohibitions against outsourcing jobs to labour hire contractors.
“Both Woodside and Chevron are insanely profitable companies. It’s not outrageous for the workers who are responsible for these profits to ask that the companies share.
“Our members are acutely aware $50 billion was made last year exporting Australian gas to the world last year and they don't want to jeopardise that, but Chevron and Woodside are leaving them little option but to take industrial action,” says spokesperson for the Offshore Alliance, Brad Gandy.
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