Gorgon workers intent on 20/10 roster

Industrial action may be on the cards for the Gorgon LNG project, according to unions on site after workers voted down the latest EBA proposal.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union has said workers on Barrow Island want a roster change from 26/9 days to 20/10 days.

In the new EBA proposal Chevron offered workers a 23/9 roster, as well as a 3 per cent pay rise.

The roster change demanded would reduce the working year by about a month, estimated to cost $8000 per year from individual workers.

The current EBA is due to expire in January 2015.

Project operator Chevron has refused to release the results of last week’s site-wide ballot.

AMWU state secretary Steve McCartney said the result of the vote indicated the full importance of the change to a shorter FIFO roster.

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

McCartney said that by March 2015 about 4000 Gorgon project workers would be in a protected bargaining period, and be eligible to apply for protected industrial action.

Electrical Trades Union assistant secretary Jim Murie said the demand for “family friendly” rosters should be taken seriously by employers.

“Chicago Bridge & Iron is the largest employer on Barrow Island,” he said.

“Protected action is always the last resort for unions, but unless CB&I and their negotiating representative, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, recognise the importance of family friendly rosters to workers, we may be left with no choice.”

The demand for a 20/10 roster has even sparked a Facebook page in support of the movement called ‘20/10 Let it Begin’, which has attracted nearly 5000 followers.

In August a survey of workers on site found 69 per cent supported a change to a 20/10 roster, while 19 per cent supported a change to a 19/9 roster.

The issue of mental health for FIFO rostered workers has come under scrutiny in a WA parliamentary inquiry, which has heard evidence from mining lobby groups, unions and mental health organisations.

The Gorgon project has reached a critical phase, with the construction project now 87 per cent complete, with completion expected late next year.

The project is already 9 months behind schedule and $17 billion overbudget.

Chevron has recently brought new floating accommodation to the island with the capacity to house an extra 1200 workers.

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