Workers at Chevron’s LNG facilities in Australia begin voting on strike action

Protected industrial action (PIA) ballots have opened for workers at Chevron’s LNG facilities in Australia to decide if they want to strike over wages and working conditions disputes.

Archive. Courtesy of Chevron Australia

Last week, unions were given green light by Australia’s labor last week to conduct the PIA, giving employees the chance to secretly vote and decide whether to go ahead with strike action.

The Chevron Wheatstone Downstream and Gorgon Facility Protected Industrial Action Ballots open today (18 August) and the Wheatstone Platform Protected Industrial Action Ballot opens on Monday, 21 August.

Located on Barrow Island, Gorgon comprises a three-train, 15.6 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) LNG facility and a domestic gas plant with the capacity to supply 300 terajoules of gas per day to Western Australia.

The Wheatstone project is one of Australia’s largest resource developments and its first LNG hub. The project consists of two LNG trains with a combined capacity of 8.9 mtpa, and a domestic gas plant. Its first shipment of LNG took place in October 2017.

The Offshore Alliance, which combines the Maritime Union of Australia and Australian Workers’ Union, called on workers to vote for all demands on the ballot across all three facilities, saying “It’s game on in pushing back against Chevron’s sub-standard employment standards”.

View on Facebook.

Chevron was continuing negotiations with employees, Reuters reported company spokesperson as saying. Last week, the company said it was taking steps to ensure reliable operations could be maintained if any disruption happens after the decision by the labor regulator. 

Woodside Energy Group, which operates Australia’s biggest LNG plant at North West Shelf, and Chevron have been holding talks with unions to avert threatened strikes at their facilities that together supply about 10% of the global LNG market.

About 99% of workers at offshore platforms that feed gas to North West Shelf have already backed industrial action. The unions have not yet called for action there, which could range from a mix of short work stoppages and bans on certain tasks to an all-out strike, Reuters writes.

Last year, production at Prelude LNG export facility was distrupted for about two months until Shell reached a pay agreement with the Australian Workers’ Union and Electrical Trades Union.

Follow Offshore Energy’s Clean Fuel: