Offshore Alliance members at Chevron’s Wheatstone Platform, and Gorgon and Wheatstone Downstream gas processing facilities in north west Western Australia will begin protected industrial action today at 1pm (WA Time).
This legal protected industrial action is sanctioned by Australia’s Fair Work Commission (FWC).
Offshore Alliance bargaining representatives and representatives from Chevron have been meeting all week with the FWC, Australia’s ‘industrial relations umpire’, in an attempt to conciliate an outcome to the current enterprise agreement (EA) negotiations covering the three facilities and approximately 500 workers.
But a deal was not able to be reached.
Therefore Offshore Alliance members will engage in 20 types of protected industrial action (PIA), including numerous work bans and shorter stoppages of work.
On September 14 Offshore Alliance members will stop work completely for 2 weeks as part of PIA.
However, Offshore Alliance members at Chevron’s Wheatstone Downstream facility have told the company they will agree to perform work on the Domestic Gas Plant located there to ensure Western Australian residents and businesses will not be affected by any strike action.
Chevron’s industrial tactics are unusual as many many companies across the Western Australian gasfields have successfully negotiated EAs with the Offshore Alliance to cover their workers in the last few years.
Offshore Alliance members at Shell’s LNG facilities secured an EA last year after 76 days of industrial action that cost Shell an estimated $1.5bn in lost production. Members at INPEX secured an EA in 2022. And last month Offshore Alliance member representatives at Woodside endorsed an in-principle agreement negotiated with the company, with a vote on the EA to follow in the coming weeks.
This leaves Chevron as the only major outfit on the WA gasfields without an industry standard EA covering its workforce.
Offshore Alliance Members working for the foreign company have still not reached agreement on several key claims including job security, agreed rosters, a transparent classification structure, 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 that apply to Chevron’s contemporaries Shell and INPEX and are soon to apply to Woodside. In negotiations to date Chevron has proposed remuneration terms lower than some Tier 2 oil and gas operators in Australian waters.
The Offshore Alliance is an alliance between The Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).
The Offshore Alliance spokesperson, AWU WA Secretary Brad Gandy says Chevron has been unreasonable.
“In good faith the Offshore Alliance agreed to a week long negotiation before the Fair Work Commission starting on Monday, the Alliance even delayed protected industrial action to give the process the chance to succeed, but after five days Chevron has barely budged,” says Mr Gandy.
“It took until day three for Chevron to bring a changed position on anything of significance and even then on day four the company back peddled on the earlier offer it made.
“It appears Chevron is more focused on making applications to the Commission than reaching agreement with the Offshore Alliance.
“Chevron are being unreasonable and downright unusual in their behaviour, Offshore Alliance members call on them to change tack so this dispute can be settled and the company can get on with the business of making billions of dollars exporting Australian gas,” says Mr Gandy.
Contact: Tim Brunero 0405 285 547