The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has stated that Barrow Island could be declared a ‘Port of Convenience’ thanks to Chevron’s efforts to exclude unions from works on the Gorgon Project.
Despite claims made by Chevron and construction contractor Leighton Holdings that cost and time blowouts in the Gorgon project were to be blamed on labour costs and delays, a report from the University of Sydney Business School showed mismanagement was to blame.
The Australian Mines and Metals Association has also lobbied the federal government to make changes that would allow non-unionised foreign maritime workers to work on Australian offshore projects with a maritime crew visa, which would preclude the need for a 457 work visa.
ITF president and Maritime Union of Australia national secretary Paddy Crumlin said that Chevron needed to take responsibility for project cost blowouts, which have run from US$37 billion to US$54 billion.
Earlier this year Chevron refused to negotiate with the MUA for a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement for offshore workers, and have since initiated a lawsuit against the WA branch of the MUA .
“They are suing us for nothing more than we want a collective agreement,” Crumlin said.
"We have made attempts to reach out to Chevron, we travelled to their shareholder meeting in Midland, Texas, earlier this year.
The MUA said it received an assurance from Chevron chief executive John Watson that unions were not to blame for cost blowouts on the Gorgon project.
Watson said he had "no intention of blaming organised labour for cost overruns or delays at Gorgon."
‘Port of convenience’ is a rating given by the ITF which designates a port or terminal where health and safety conditions are considered below acceptable standards.
Crumlin also said the MUA is now teaming up with the Maritime Union of New Zealand and the Papua New Guinea Maritime and Transport Workers Union to form the Regional Maritime Federation.
Image: The Age