Outcome of Chevron, Woodside, Australian Unions Talks May Take Days

Credit: Woodside
Credit: Woodside

Negotiations between Chevron, Woodside Energy Group, and Australian unions on Tuesday are unlikely to yield results for days because unions will need to consult members on any decision, according to a source with knowledge of the matter that was not authorized to speak to media. 

Chevron and Woodside negotiated with unions on Tuesday to avert potential industrial action over pay and conditions at Australian facilities that supply about 10% of the LNG market.

Chevron said through a spokesperson that bargaining was continuing and "we seek outcomes that are in the interests of both employees and the company.” 

A Woodside spokesperson told Reuters there were no updates on the negotiations.

Workers at the offshore platforms that supply gas to the Woodside-operated North West Shelf LNG plant have backed industrial action although the unions have not yet called for action there.

Meanwhile, workers at three Chevron facilities, Gorgon, Wheatstone platform, and Wheatstone downstream, will vote on potential industrial action after the industrial umpire approved the ballots.

The Offshore Alliance, a coalition of the unions involved, said in a social media post on Tuesday members at the Chevron sites would begin voting "over the next week", meaning potential strike action at those facilities is at least a week away.

Even if members vote for industrial action, the unions will still have discretion over whether to call for any. Possible industrial action could range from 30-minute work stoppages all the way to complete strikes.

Employers must be given seven days' notice before industrial action. 

Credit Suisse analyst Saul Kavonic said last week the risk of strikes stopping production across the LNG plants for more than a week was exceptionally low.

"This is all part of union negotiations. While there will be loud rhetoric threatening large production outages as the unions and LNG companies test their positions, it is unlikely global supply will actually be impacted materially," he said.

(Reuters - Reporting by Lewis JacksonEditing by Bernadette Baum)

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