Industrial action by FIFO workers looms over Chevron’s Gorgon project

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AMWU members on Chevron’s Gorgon project in Western Australia have begun casting their vote on whether to take industrial action following their employers’ refusal to grant them rosters with a “proper work-family balance”.

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The voting campaign, which began on Tuesday and closes on 19 August, could include rolling stoppages up to 24 hours and work bans by the end of the month.

According to the AMWU, Fly-In Fly-Out members on the country’s largest LNG project have been enraged by the management’s failure to recognise that the impact on mental health of long working weeks away from their families was their prime concern.

AMWU WA State secretary Steve McCartney said workers are demanding a 20 days on, 10 day off (2-1) roster which is consistent with the recommendations of shorter rosters made by the recent WA Parliamentary Inquiry into the mental health impacts of FIFO work.

“Workers have repeatedly rejected the company proposals for this enterprise agreement, they want to set a better standard for the industry because they feel so strongly over this issue,” Mr McCartney said.

“There have been too many deaths and family break-ups from the pressure of FIFO work and trying to ease this is the number one priority of workers.”

Mr McCartney said workers would “not tolerate” any attempt by Chevron to try to use the possibility of industrial action as an excuse for its own inefficiencies which had led to delays of the first exports of gas from Barrow Island.

He said the company has tried to lay the blame for the dispute on to the contractors employing many of the workers.

“Chevron will always point to the subcontractor but we know who we have to beat – we have to beat the multinational that made $25 billion last year off the back of these workers,” Mr McCartney said.

“They are determined to improve their rosters so they have reasonable time with their families.”