Chevron Australia LNG workers to continue with strike plans

Of unionised workers, 91% supported the motion to restart industrial action in a secret ballot held over the weekend.

Annabel Cossins-Smith October 17 2023

Workers at Chevron’s two liquified natural gas (LNG) plants in Australia have reaffirmed their plan to resume strikes later this this week as mediated talks between the oil major and unions continued fruitlessly through Monday.

The Offshore Alliance (OA), a coalition of two industrial union bodies in Australia, confirmed in a statement on its Facebook page plans to restart protected industrial action (PIA) on 19 October, with 91% of workers supporting the motion in a secret ballot held over the weekend.

According to the OA, Chevron “failed on all counts” to address questions over wages and working conditions brought forward by unions during negotiations.

The statement added that Chevron had emailed every worker “demanding” they declare to the OA whether they support continued industrial action at the Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG facilities.

“Members have made it clear that they want Chevron to stop twisting the draft terms of our EBA’s [enterprise bargaining agreement] and are prepared to ramp up PIA until our EBA's are properly sorted,” the OA said, adding that it is “fed up with the games Chevron and their lawyers are playing”.

A non-binding deal was reached at the end of September, ending strike action that had been ongoing for weeks. Brad Gandy, a spokesperson for the OA, said in a statement at the time: "At a late-night mass meeting members endorsed the latest offer which incorporates the Fair Work Commission's [FWC] recommendations.”

"The Offshore Alliance will now work with Chevron to finalise the drafting of the agreement and members will soon cease current industrial action," Mr Gandy added.

However, earlier this month the deal fell apart and talks broke down, with the OA accusing Chevron of reneging on promises set out in the deal.

The FWC, Australia’s industrial arbitrator and mediator of the negotiations, oversaw three days of talks last week and asked the OA to withdraw its plan to strike, according to Chevron. Chevron said late on Sunday it was "extremely disappointed" by the vote to stick with the strike plan, against the arbitrator's request.

The earlier industrial action caused a drop in Dutch and British wholesale gas prices. European gas also peaked last month following the announcement from Chevron and Woodside workers that strikes had been confirmed.

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