Three-week strike begins at Chevron’s LNG facilities in Australia

Around five hundred workers on Chevron’s Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG offshore facilities in Western Australia started strike action on Friday.

Work stoppages started at 1 PM local time, lasting up to 11 hours each day, as well as bans on some types of work, after union negotiations over pay and working conditions stalled.

The strike was unanimously supported by all members of the Offshore Alliance that voted at Gorgon and Wheatstone. All Electrical Trades Union members on both facilities voted for the strike as well.

The Offshore Alliance extended the strike from one week to at least three weeks after Chevron allegedly attempted to circumvent bargaining negotiations. The strike also implies that the intervention by Australia’s Fair Trade Commission was also not successful.

Apart from the one-week stoppages already described, the Offshore Alliance said on Facebook that the new “Protected Industrial Action Notice will escalate work bans” and that “rolling 24 x 1-hour stoppages, each day for 14 days from Thursday, September 14” will be in force.

“Chevron is demanding they be given special concessions in bargaining – a demand which we have put through the shredding machine. Their bargaining performance has been the most inept effort of any employer the Union has dealt with in the past 5 years and our members have had enough,” Offshore Alliance said.

Within 24 hours of the Protected Industrial Action starting on the two facilities, Chevron began evacuating their contractor workforce. Chevron chartered a flight to Barrow Island to evacuate 50 blue- and white-collar contract crew off the Gorgon Project.

“Our members are bunkering down for a long dispute with Chevron and Chevron better get used to the idea of losing billions in export revenue in their ideological battle against their own workforce. Offshore Alliance members on the Gorgon and Wheatstone facilities will go one day longer and one day stronger than Chevron,” the union said in response to the evacuation.

Gorgon and Wheatstone together produce about 25 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas per year, equivalent to about 5% of the world’s supply of LNG.

Chevron told US media outlets that the company negotiated “in good faith” but that the two parties were still “apart on key terms” and that it would take steps “to maintain safe and reliable operations in the event of disruption at our facilities.”

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