Chevron Union Workers Consider Fair Work Commission Proposals to End Strike

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A silver lining has emerged in the ongoing industrial dispute plaguing Chevron’s LNG operations. Union workers have declared they will mull over recommendations put forth by the Fair Work Commission in effort to bring the strike to a close.

On Thursday, FWC Commissioner Riordan issued a list of suggestions intended to resolve the matter. The Offshore Alliance, representing Australian Workers Union and Electrical Trades Union, responded that workers would be examining these proposals.

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AWU WA secretary Brad Gandy remarked that the workers at Chevron would be giving Commissioner Riordan’s recommendation serious contemplation as it pertains to multiple critical negotiating points. He anticipates the members’ feedback on the proposed solutions and affirms that next steps will be governed by their collective response.

Meanwhile, the strike continues to intensify at Chevron’s colossal Wheatstone and Gorgon LNG plants located in Western Australia. The union’s contention with the energy giant centers on negotiating a fresh enterprise agreement. Among the union’s demands are improved pay rates, increased consultation on scheduling changes, enhanced transparency on role designation at the plants, and advanced protections from temporary workforce companies.

A Chevron representative remarked that the union’s demands extend “significantly above” the prevailing market standards. The FWC is set to reach a decision tomorrow on whether to issue obstinate bargaining statements—new industrial law measures that spur dissenting parties back to the negotiating table. Failure to reach an agreement could result in the FWC imposing its own resolution.

However, Commissioner Riordan’s advice indicates that an arrangement may be reached without requiring arbitration. He underscored the breakthrough significance of potentially establishing the inaugural enterprise agreements for these Chevron facilities. He noted a substantial number of matters have been amicably resolved, laying a robust groundwork for future agreements.

The recommendations offered by Commissioner Riordan extend to various topics including allowances, classification, overcycle payments, accommodation, working hours, travel allowances, panel alterations, salary continuities, job security, and training pay. The Commissioner recommends that worker accomodation should only be shared under extraordinary circumstances and that all employees should receive a $7000 travel allowance. Moreover, workers should only be required to extend their usual hours to complete tasks that pertain to safety issues or to conduct a thorough handover to another employee.

Striking an optimistic note, the Commissioner stated that an agreement seemed within reach and emphatically endorsed the adoption of his recommendations to conclude the dispute. He emphasized the long duration and hard work put into the negotiations, resulting in broad consensus on the majority of provisions of the proposed agreements.

The parties have been granted until 9am Friday to accept or reject the proposal. Additionally, it’s important to note that Chevron’s facilities provide about 7 per cent of global LNG and contribute to 47 per cent of Western Australia’s domestic gas. Even amidst the ongoing industrial actions, including sustained work stoppages, workers have reassured their commitment to maintaining gas flow to the domestic market.