Australia, Transport News

Chevron workers strike set to continue

It’s been a long and winding battle between Chevron Australia and Australia’s Offshore Alliance union and it’s set to continue into next week with further industrial action

This past Monday a report from Reuters said that unions at Chevron’s Wheatstone and Gorgon facilities would renew strikes next Thursday.

Chevron says that it remains committed to working out a deal with the respective unions, asking for the help of the Fair Work Commission on a handful of points.

“We don’t believe that industrial action is necessary, given we are seeking the assistance of the Fair Work Commission to resolve the small number of outstanding items between the parties,” a Chevron spokesperson says in a statement to Reuters.

“We will continue to take steps to maintain safe and reliable operations in the event of disruption at our facilities.”

Reuters reported in early September that workers initially started limited action at the two facilities around that time before it increased on Thursday September 14.

The same day action increased there was also a fault at the Wheatstone facility which had temporarily shut off a quarter of its LNG production.

Reuters says that it wasn’t clear at the time whether or not the union strike was the cause of the fault at said facility.

After two days of increased action from employees the union then told Reuters that Saturday workers had begun a 24-hour strike at the plants.

During it employees were able to strike for up to 24-hours until the end of September plus refuse tasks such as loading LNG tankers.

Despite the strike and the fault both facilities’ production rates were only cut by one-fifth.

“During (the fault), LNG continued to be produced at approximately 80 per cent of usual rates, and vessel loading continued,” a Chevron spokesperson says to Reuters.

“There has been no change to scheduled LNG deliveries. Domestic gas facilities and supply were unaffected.”

The strike as well as the fault had still hurt global gas markets greatly during that period, with LNG prices increasing by as much as 35 per cent in August.

Reuters then reported eight days after industrial action had increased that strikes had come to an end between the unions and Chevron following the intervention of the Fair Work Commission (FWC).

The proposed deal by the FWC for employees included substantial improvement in pay, job security, locked-in rosters and career progression.

“The Offshore Alliance will now work with Chevron to finalise the drafting of the agreement and members will soon cease current industrial action,” Offshore Alliance spokesperson Brad Gandy said in a statement to Reuters.

Only a fortnight later though the unions then accused Chevron of not following through with other key commitments on the deal.

Said commitments include travel and meal expenses reimbursement plus cabin sharing on the offshore platform.

Last Monday the Union then moved forward with their plan to provide a seven day notice for the strike.

With the looming possibility of industrial action increasing Reuters reported that there had been a mixed reaction to the threat of further strikes from markets.

It was added that should further talks breakdown, Chevron could request via petition that the Fair Work Commission intervene.

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