Bechtel warns it will strike back against protected action

The campaign for 3/1 working rosters on Curtis Island has received a shot in the arm, with an application to vote on protected action approved by Fair Work Australia on June 30.

The application by the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union, to conduct a ballot among workers on whether to take strike action, applies to the QCLNG, APLNG and GLNG construction sites run by American contractor Bechtel.

Bechtel advised Fair Work Australia that it did not oppose the application.

Australian Mining contacted Bechtel to question the lack of opposition to the strike action, and received this response:

“We didn't oppose the applications of the CEPU or the AWU either. Such applications are provided for under the Enterprise bargaining process.”

However, a document issued by Bechtel to workers on site, which was published on the FIFO Construction Workers 3/1 Forum Facebook community this morning, has shown that Bechtel is prepared to “lock-out” workers who take protected action.

“Bechtel can respond to those employees taking ‘protected industrial action’ by taking action itself,” Bechtel said.

“An example of this is that Bechtel can lock out’ employees who have taken ‘protected industrial action’.

“Such ‘lock outs’ can be for an indefinite period.”

Bechtel warned that employees who are locked out will not be paid.

The document suggests that Bechtel is not prepared to negotiate further on conditions within the proposed Enterprise Bargaining Agreement.

“The projects were planned to 4/1 rosters, and all non-local employees signed up to a 4/1 roster, and the reality is it is too late to change the roster for these projects.”

Australian Mining has contacted the AMWU and Bechtel for further comment.

Image: Brenda Strong

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