The industrial clock is counting down at Gorgon after 94 per cent of workers voted up protected action to gain family friendly rosters on Australia’s biggest resource project.
When the ballots were counted on Monday, more than 1000 workers voted overwhelmingly to impose action on Chevron’s lead contractor CB&I over its refusal to introduce a roster of 20 days on-10 days off.
A range of bans is available to the workforce on Barrow Island off the WA Pilbara, which could delay completion of the $55 billion gas project.
But it is not too late to avoid disruption, as Chevron and CB&I have seven days to keep negotiating with AMWU delegates and those from the CFMEU and ETU before any action.
Determined: AMWU WA State Secretary Steve McCartney addresses Gorgon workers at an on-site meeting in 2014.
WA State secretary Steve McCartney said Chevron and its contractor had not sufficiently addressed health and safety concerns after a series of suicides and a Parliamentary Inquiry into mental distress and family breakdown among Fly-in, Fly-Out workers.
He said the present roster of 26 days straight work, then 9 days off, had to change. Members are prepared to accept a pay drop in order to buy more time with their families.
"If the company wants to talk, we want to listen to try and make sure we can get the rosters we can," Mr McCartney said.
"If not, the guys will start taking action.”
Mr McCartney said the 20-10 rosters being sought were a moderate step towards the even-time rosters recommended by the WA Parliamentary Committee of both sides of politics.
He said criticism from WA Premier Colin Barnett while touring Chevron sites that the Gorgon action is “unwarranted” showed the Premier “just doesn’t get it” on FIFO worker health and safety.
“It’s interesting that Colin Barnett wants to get involved now because when we were trying to get more work on these projects for local WA fabricators, he was nowhere to be seen,” Mr McCartney said.
“All he’s ever done is back up the boss. It’s a disgrace.
“There’s no reason a multinational which made a staggering $25 billion profit can’t give its workers humane rostering.”
Solidarity message: unionists at Perth's anti-China Free Trade rally this week also voiced strong support for their comrades on the Gorgon project in the state's north.