Unions: Chevron keeping head in sand over Gorgon costs

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has joined forces with the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) in a global campaign to, as they say, build awareness over delays and cost overruns on Chevron’s Gorgon LNG project in Australia.

The MUA WA Branch ,led by Branch Secretary Christy Cain unveilled, a new installation depicting Chevron managers as having their head in the sand at the opening day of the APPEA conference in Perth

The MUA says that the Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) has unfairly blamed the Western Australia (WA) Branch of the MUA for problems on the Gorgon project, as the union has sought to negotiate a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement for maritime workers working in the offshore oil and gas sector.

MUA WA branch secretary Christy Cain said maritime workers were being used as scapegoats by Chevron Australia.

“Research undertaken by BIS Shrapnel found that the wages of maritime workers make up less than one percent of the USD54 billion cost of building Gorgon,” Cain said.

“Despite the negligible impact of maritime wages on the total construction cost of Gorgon, the MUA and our members are portrayed by the industry and their henchmen as being responsible for all of the problems facing the Gorgon project and the LNG sector as a whole.”

“This campaign will expose the real reasons for cost blowouts and delays on the Gorgon project to Chevron management and investors worldwide.”

ITF president Paddy Crumlin said it was time to face up to facts.

“Gorgon is an important project for Chevron and the Australian national interest in the development of our nationally-owned resources.”

“The MUA, the ITF and myself have consistently committed to a functional and long term commitment to productivity within the reach of labour relations since the initial Financial Investment Decision years ago. Each approach has been firmly rebuffed by the company.”

Crumlin questioned why Chevron wouldn’t sit down with the unions to develop a sustainable and functional relationship with its workforce.

“Gorgon is one of the largest LNG projects in the world, where Australian national assets are being developed in an Australian National park. It’s imperative that Chevron develops a good industrial relationship with those working on the project.

“Really, the company needs to get a grip, cop their stuff-ups on the chin and return to a mature and balanced industrial relations model more suited to Australian values underpinning economic and commercial success.

“If they do that, Chevron will have the support and encouragement of both the maritime union and the ITF.”

The MUA/ITF campaign launched with an online video and digital advertising, as well as the unveiling of a five metre high installation of a Chevron executive with their head in the sand.

 

April 15, 2014

 

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