Protected industrial action on Chevron’s Gorgon LNG project scheduled for tomorrow has been averted, with contractor CB&I agreeing to more family friendly rosters for construction workers, the unions have said.
The Western Australian branches of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) applied for a protected action ballot after months of negotiations with CB&I failed to offer any significant change to the 26 days’ on 9 days’ off construction roster.
Workers were seeking a roster of 20 days’ on and 10 days’ off, consistent with the recommendations of a recent bi-partisan Parliamentary Committee inquiry into the mental health of FIFO workers.
The unions have opposed the current roster of 26 days on and 9 days off, claiming they have to spend almost a month at a time away from their families and communities.
Workers today endorsed CB&I’s most recent offer of a 23 days on 10 days off roster.
AMWU WA Branch Secretary Steve McCartney said today was an historic day.
“Workers on Gorgon have secured the most family-friendly construction roster to date,” he said.
“This was never about the money, as many in the business community and media wrongfully asserted. This has been 100 per cent about workers’ families and mental health.
“It is a tribute to the hard work of delegates across our three strong unions – the AMWU, CFMEU and ETU that put us in a position to secure this watershed deal.
“Our proud members have stared down Chevron, one of the largest and most powerful multinational corporations, and won.
“The findings of the landmark Parliamentary Inquiry into FIFO suicides really left us no option but to use every means at our disposal to win family friendly rosters for our members.
“FIFO is no longer just a ‘young man’s game’ – we now have 60,000 FIFO workers in Western Australia, and many of them have husbands, wives and children.
“Having been involved with campaigns since the 1980’s to reduce rosters from 13 weeks on and 1 weeks off, I am proud of the role our union has once again played in raising the standards for all Australian workers. I thank all of our members who were involved in this campaign for their support. This is their victory.”
The Gorgon Project is developing the Gorgon and Jansz-Io gas fields, located within the Greater Gorgon area, between 130 and 220 kilometres off the northwest coast of Western Australia.
It includes the construction of a 15.6 million tonne per annum (MTPA) liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on Barrow Island and a domestic gas plant with the capacity to supply 300 terajoules of gas per day to Western Australia.
Gorgon LNG will be offloaded via a 2.1 kilometers long loading jetty for transport to international markets. The domestic gas will be piped to the Western Australian mainland.