More than 250 Bechtel workers employed at Chevron’s Wheatstone project have reportedly signed a petition alleging „serious workplace bullying incidents.“
The petition calls on Chevron contractor Bechtel to treat worker’s concerns with the seriousness and respect required, after a worksite manager allegedly used profanity and bullying tactics on multiple occasions when speaking to employees in an effort to offend and intimidate them, the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union said in a statement earlier this week.
According to AMWU, the alleged behavior took place on or around the middle of July on multiple occasions and included referring to workers as “rats“ and “no better than paedophiles”.
The workers petition calls on Chevron mechanical contractor Bechtel, one of the largest civil engineering and construction companies in the world to “expect a higher standard and lead by example”.
The workers also state that Bechtel has failed to ensure a bully free workplace, and that they have no faith in the named manager to be able to organize and manage workers on his shift. Workers organized a mass meeting about the incidents at which 260 workers signed the petition to formalize their position.
However, AMWU said, Bechtel rejected the petition, asking workers to lodge individual complaints through the disputes process.
The workers have since delegated the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union to represent them in this matter.
AMWU State Secretary Steve McCartney said it was a disgrace that the initial concerns of workers had been brushed aside and that the manager in question was still working.
“We’re not going to stand by while Bechtel bury this issue under layers of company bureaucracy that never finds an answer,” said McCartney.
“Given what we know about the mental health stresses already faced by FIFO workers, it is completely unacceptable that a company with this many staff working remotely seems to have no intention of preventing behavior like this.
“This is a company who ignored all the recommendations of the State Government inquiry into FIFO mental health.
“They think because it’s a remote site, no one will notice. But we have noticed, and we’re going to represent these workers, because everyone deserves a safe workplace free from bullying and abuse.
“This is one of the biggest projects in Australia and it’s shameful that two of the largest companies involved, Bechtel and Chevron, seemingly won’t hold its management to a higher standard.
“Companies like this always welcome tougher ABCC regulations to deal with workers but won’t hold their management to account and it’s completely hypocritical.
“Our members have called upon us to ensure this company treats their workers with the same level of respect they always demand of their employees, and to that end we will fight on their behalf.”
Offshore Energy Today has reached out to both, Bechtel and Chevron seeking comment on these allegations.
The Chevron-run Wheatstone LNG project, labeled as one of Australia’s largest resource projects, will develop the Wheatstone, Iago, Julimar and Brunello offshore gas fields in Australia. The Wheatstone and nearby Iago natural gas resources are located about 200km (124 miles) north of Onslow off Western Australia’s Pilbara coast. The Julimar and Brunello fields will tie back to the central processing platform.
Presenting the company’s quarterly results late in July, Chevron’s CEO John Watson said first production from the Wheatstone LNG Project “is expected next month,” that is, in August 2017.