Offshore Alliance (OA) members at Chevron’s Western Australian gas facilities have issued the company with a notice of intention to take protected industrial action, a move that could ultimately impact around 5% of global liquefied natural gas volumes.

Chevron’s three-train Gorgon LNG facility has nameplate capacity of 15.6 million tonnes per annum and its Wheatstone liquefaction facility has two trains with combined capacity of 8.9 million tpa.

OA members at the US supermajor’s Gorgon project, Wheatstone downstream and Wheatstone platform facilities have each voted almost unanimously in favour of more than 20 types of industrial action, including numerous work bans and complete stoppages of work.

The industrial action will escalate each week until Chevron agrees to the bargaining claims, the union said via its Facebook account.

"The OA Chevron crew won’t be intimidated by an outfit which think they can exploit our resources, rip off Australian taxpayers and underpay highly skilled oil and gas workers engaged on remote major hazard facilities," the Facebook post stated.

“We’ve received Notices for Protected Industrial Action at our Gorgon and Wheatstone facilities for activities commencing Thursday 7 September," a Chevron Australia spokesperson told Upstream.

“While we don’t believe that industrial action is necessary for agreement to be reached, we recognise employees have the right to take protected industrial action and we will continue to take steps to maintain safe and reliable operations in the event of disruption at our facilities.

“We will also continue to work through the bargaining process as we seek outcomes that are in the interests of both employees and the company."

The Offshore Alliance said it had on Monday provided Chevron with notices of intention to take protected industrial action across all three facilities, with action to commence on 7 September.

The union added that its members have been consistently disappointed with the operator’s approach to negotiations with the union and Chevron not accepting that an industry standard agreement should apply to the work they perform for the company.

Easy resolution

Offshore Alliance spokesperson, AWU WA Secretary Brad Gandy, said the matter could easily be resolved.

“Our members at Chevron aren’t being unreasonable in their claims and if Chevron could just accept that it must provide terms and conditions of employment that meet the industry standard we could settle this matter in a matter of hours,” said Gandy.

“Our members want some say over rosters to ensure they are family friendly, job security so they can’t be replaced by temporary labour hire employees and to reach agreement on other matters relating to overcycle, training standards, travel arrangements and rates of pay.

“Offshore Alliance members at Chevron would prefer to have this matter resolved without the need for industrial action, but Chevron has given them little indication that it can be,” added Gandy.

Chevron management last week decided that it would put out to vote two proposed agreements that are not endorsed by the union. The OA said it expects these non-union agreements to be “overwhelmingly rejected”.

The result of the third and final ballot of members to endorse protected industrial action was published yesterday with 100% of members voting and endorsing protected industrial action at the Wheatstone platform.

The result follows last Thursday’s similar vote result among 450 OA members working at Chevron’s Wheatstone downstream and Gorgon facilities, who are also seeking an industry standard Enterprise Agreement (EA) in current negotiations.

Enterprise Agreements

Many companies across the Western Australian gas fields in the last few years have successfully negotiated EAs with the OA to cover their workers.

Offshore Alliance members on Shell’s Prelude floating LNG facility last year secured an EA after 76 days of protected industrial action, while Inpex workers also secured an EA with the OA in 2022. And only last week, OA employee representatives at Woodside Energy endorsed an in-principal agreement negotiated with the company, with a vote on the agreement to follow in the coming weeks.

This leaves Chevron as the only major operator without an industry standard EA covering its workforce, noted the OA.

“Offshore Alliance Members at Chevron have still not reached agreement on several key claims including job security, agreed rosters, mutual agreement on transfers to other Chevron worksites, mutual agreement on the working of overcycle, training standards, travel arrangements and rates of pay,” the union said.

“Members are seeking remuneration outcomes which align with benchmark industry standards that apply to Chevron’s contemporaries Shell and Inpex and are soon to apply to Woodside. In negotiations to date Chevron has proposed remuneration terms lower than some Tier 2 oil and gas operators in Australian waters,” it added.

The Offshore Alliance is an alliance between the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) and the Maritime Union of Australia.

Updated for a second time to note that the latest comment from a Chevron Australia spokesperson included two paragraphs as earlier stated.

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