The protracted legal wrangle over pay and conditions between Chevron and unionised workers at its liquefied natural gas projects in Australia has taken yet another turn with the suspension of the next round of protracted industrial action that was set for Thursday 19 October.

Offshore Alliance members from three Chevron gas facilities — Gorgon LNG, the Wheatstone platform and Wheatstone downstream — met at 3pm local time on Tuesday to consider the three draft enterprise agreements (EAs) which correspond to their worksites.

The new draft EAs have been agreed after lawyers acting for Chevron tried to back away from an in-principle deal done in late September. As a consequence of Chevron welching on that deal, Offshore Alliance members had voted to recommence PIA at the three facilities beginning 19 October, the union said.

However, at Tuesday’s meeting members of the Offshore Alliance — a tie-up between the Australian Workers Union (AWU) and the Maritime Union of Australia — agreed to suspend that protected industrial action.

Chevron’s 15.6 million tonnes per annum Gorgon and 8.9 million tpa Wheatstone LNG projects together account for about 6% of global supply.

Offshore Alliance's spokesperson, AWU Western Australia secretary Brad Gandy, said Offshore Alliance members at Chevron had been tolerant during their dispute with the US supermajor.

“Offshore Alliance members at Chevron have shown incredible patience with this American outfit which kept altering the details of the deal even after they’d shaken on it with the Offshore Alliance negotiating team in late September,” Gandy said.

“The AWU has advised Chevron Australia that industrial action by its members, which was planned to commence tomorrow, will no longer go ahead.”

“It is sad Chevron seems unable to do an honest deal, and we hope this can now be put to rest but if Chevron tries to alter the deal again our members will obviously have no choice but to consider taking protected industrial action,” Gandy added.

“People dealing with Chevron should know this company will try every trick in the book to dud them and not to trust anything they say unless it’s in black and white.”

A Chevron Australia spokesperson said the company welcomes the in-principle agreement with the AWU on the proposed enterprise agreements for employees at its Gorgon and Wheatstone facilities.

“Following in-principle agreement, we will provide the proposed Enterprise Agreements tonight (Wednesday) to the relevant employees to consider, opening the required seven-day access period, with a ballot to be held next week.

“If voted up, the Agreements will then be submitted to the Fair Work Commission for approval," the Chevron spokesperson added.

Updated to include comment from Chevron.

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