Workers plan two-week strike for Chevron’s Wheatstone and Gorgon LNG plants

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The Offshore Alliance has threatened US LNG giant Chevron with a two-week strike at its Gorgon and Wheatstone facilities in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

The alliance had already planned a week of stoppages to begin this Thursday as it continues to butt heads with Chevron over new enterprise agreements for the more than 500 employees working across both facilities.

Chevron’s Wheatstone LNG plant could be subject to major strike action.Credit: Supplied

Talks overseen by the industrial umpire the Fair Work Commission that began Monday prompted the alliance to add more severe strike plans to its calendar.

The alliance, made up of members of the Maritime Union and the Australian Workers’ Union, wrote to Chevron on Monday night notifying it that workers at Gorgon and Wheatstone would take part in a fortnight of 24-hour strikes starting September 14.

The notice also included bans on overtime and maintenance work, but employees who were needed to maintain the safety and structural integrity of the facility would continue to work.

Strikes of that length could have ramifications for both global and domestic gas markets.

Gorgon exports about 15.6 million tonnes of LNG per year while Wheatstone exports 8.9 million and combined they account for more than 5 per cent of the world’s LNG production capacity.

“Offshore Alliance members are yet to exercise their lawful workplace rights to take protected industrial action and our bargaining claims will look more and more reasonable as Chevron’s Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG exports dry up,” the alliance said.

“The [alliance’s] log of claims will ultimately be claims which Chevron will agree to, but not before they lose a few billion – judging by the form guide.

“Which is ok as Chevron clearly have plenty of loose change in the Chevron piggy bank.”

The strike threat comes after 458 Wheatstone and Gorgon employees voted down Chevron’s proposed enterprise agreements put to them last month.

The commission will oversee talks between the alliance and the union every day this week.

Rival Woodside avoided strikes last month after a marathon 15-hour negotiation resulted in pay increases between $20,000 and $50,000 a year and improved job security for workers on three offshore gas platforms that supply the North West Shelf gas export plant.

Chevron was contacted for comment but a spokesman told the Australian Financial Review on Tuesday that it would continue to work through the bargaining process to seek outcomes in the interest of both employees and the company.

“We will also continue to take steps to maintain safe and reliable operations in the event of disruption at our facilities,” he said.

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