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Employment Relations, Oil Mining Resources

Offshore Alliance members vote to take industrial action

Offshore Alliance 3 mins read

Offshore Alliance members at Woodside will take industrial action should they be disappointed by the outcome of a meeting between their representatives and the company on Wednesday the 23rd of August.

The Offshore Alliance – which is an alliance between The Australian Workers’ Union and the Maritime Union of Australia – has held a meeting with members working at Woodside’s North West Shelf Platforms – Goodwyn Alpha, North Rankin Complex and Angel Deep. 

At the meeting, members unanimously agreed to instruct the Alliance to serve Woodside with a notice of proposed protected industrial action after the next bargaining meeting between the union and Woodside should the meeting not produce the outcomes sought by members.

The next meeting between the union and Woodside will take place on Wednesday 23 August. Should notice of protected industrial action be issued by the union, strike action could occur as early as 2 September.

Negotiations commenced between the Alliance and Woodside earlier in the year after the Alliance took Woodside to the Fair Work Commission and successfully sought an order for bargaining to commence. 

Woodside opposed the union’s application to bargain in an exceptionally hostile manner and spent nine months instructing a team of solicitors and barristers to do anything possible to delay and defeat the Alliance’s application.

Tactics engaged in by Woodside to attempt to defeat and frustrate the union’s application to negotiate a collective agreement included: 

  • accusing a senior member of the Fair Work Commission of apprehended bias in favour of the union (an accusation that was rejected by both the Commission member a Full Bench of the Commission on appeal);

  • unsuccessfully seeking the names of all of the workers who supported the union application so that the company could ‘cross examine’ its own workers about their decision to support collective bargaining; and 

  • unsuccessfully seeking a copy of the signatures collected by the union on a petition supporting collective bargaining so that the company could compare the signatures with those it has on file – even though Woodside subsequently admitted that it did not have copies of its employees signatures on file.

Offshore Alliance members working at Woodside’s North West Shelf Platforms are seeking to have industry standard terms and conditions formalised in a collective agreement with the company, which include:

  • Job Security Provisions – to prevent low-wage contractors from undermining the job security of Woodside employees;

  • An Agreed Classification Structure – that is based on technical competencies and allows for workers to progress on objective criteria;

  • Remuneration – that is on the same level as other tier one operators in Australia that takes into account the qualifications, skills, experience and hazardous working environment;

  • Roster Security – to ensure that workers have a say in any proposed roster changes, rather than just have them imposed by the company.

Offshore Alliance spokesperson, AWU WA Secretary Brad Gandy, says that it’s time for Woodside to accept that its workers want an industry standard enterprise agreement.

“Woodside tried every tactic it could think of to avoid bargaining with its workers as a collective, but in the end the company failed to maintain the status quo it liked – one where what the company says goes,” said Mr Gandy.

“It is the recalcitrance and pigheadedness of Woodside that has placed the company in the position it is in now, not the workers. 

“The Alliance first approached Woodside to bargain for an agreement to apply to the NWS platforms in May 2022. Woodside has dragged this out and brought us all along with them.

“Woodside must now realise that we are not going away.

“Offshore Alliance members don’t take industrial action lightly, but Woodside is really leaving them with little choice here,” said Mr Gandy.

Contact: Tim Brunero 0405 285 547

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