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Issue #1666      November 26, 2014

Workers reject roster offer at Gorgon

The issue of family friendly rosters on the giant Gorgon gas project in Western Australia is coming to a head after Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) members joined other unionists in strongly rejecting an employer offer of a new agreement.

About 700 AMWU members among the fly-in, fly-out workforce voted against the offer by Chevron and its contractors including Chicago Bridge & Iron.

AMWU state secretary Steve McCartney said that rosters were the top priority for many FIFO workers concerned about the impact of long periods away from home on their family relationships and their own mental health.

The employers offered to cut back the existing 26 days on, 9 days off to 23/9 but the workforce of AMWU, CFMEU and ETU members want 20 days on, 10 days off.

The existing agreement runs out in January, with the first gas expected to flow in about a year.

“While Chevron has been secretive on the actual result of the ballot, we understand that, depending on the contractor, between 77 percent and up to 88 percent of workers rejected their roster proposal,” Mr McCartney said.

“The fact that the offer was rejected in a secret ballot by union members and non-union members alike, shows how important family friendly rosters are to the lives of workers and their families.”

The union has also revealed that Filipino workers unnecessarily brought in to work on the Gorgon project when locals were available had been made to work 52 days in a row by Chicago Bridge & Iron.

Mr McCartney said working the 457 Visa holders “into the ground” was no way to make up for lateness of the project, also $US17 billion over budget.

“We don’t believe there is a need for 457 Visa holders on Barrow Island, but now that they are here, we want to make sure that Chevron and CB&I show them a duty of care and don’t take advantage of them,” he said.

Next article – Land Rights under attack

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