Chevron Accepts Australian Labour Tribunal's Terms to End Strike at LNG Plants

Credit: Chevron Australia (File image)
Credit: Chevron Australia (File image)

Chevron said on Thursday it had accepted recommendations from Australia's labor regulator to end its dispute with unions at its liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities in Western Australia.

The Fair Work Commission of Australia, which has the power to impose a settlement, "strongly recommended" parties accept its proposals to end work stoppages that began on Sept. 8 at the Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG operations.

The workers at the facilities, which account for nearly 7% of global LNG supply, are backed by the Offshore Alliance - that combines the Maritime Union of Australia and the Australian Workers' Union.

Chevron had been negotiating with the workers for weeks alongside Australia's Woodside Energy <WDS.AX>, which managed to avert the strikes last month after reaching a deal.

Here is a sequence of events leading up to the strike action: 


Date

Development 

Aug. 9

Workers at Woodside's liquefied LNG facilities in Australia vote for industrial action. 

Aug. 10

Chevron and Woodside say they are holding talks with union to avert any potential action by the workers. 

Aug. 11

Australia's labor regulator, the Fair Work Commission, allows workers' union to hold a ballot of employees to decide if they wanted to make a decision on taking industrial action at Chevron's Gorgon and downstream Wheatstone LNG facilities. 

Aug. 15

Negotiations between Chevron, Woodside Energy Group and Australian unions continue but a source with knowledge of the matter tells Reuters that the talks are unlikely to yield results for days.  

Aug. 16

Woodside says "positive progress" was being made on talks with a union alliance on disputes over the wages of workers. 

Aug. 16

The Offshore Alliance says during the negotiations Woodside was "well off the pace on key bargaining issues including job security and remuneration."

Aug. 18 

Voting opens in Chevron's facilities to let workers decide if they want to strike due to disputes over wages and working conditions. 

Aug. 20 

Unions at Woodside's North West Shelf offshore gas platforms announce plans to strike as early as Sept. 2. 

Aug. 22

Woodside CEO Meg O'Neil says the company has had "constructively addressed" several concerns of workers but said it also has a duty to shareholders to be able to run the business.

Aug. 23 

Woodside and unions meet for another round of talks to avoid the strikes. 

Aug. 23

Chevron's Australian unit says it would increase domestic gas production capacity at its Wheatstone facility. 

Aug. 24

Woodside reaches an in-principle agreement with unions to avert strikes. 

Aug. 24

Workers at Chevron's Gorgon and Wheatstone downstream facilities vote to allow unions to call for a strike if necessary.

Aug. 25 

Unions at Chevron's LNG facilities in Australia warn that work stoppages could cost the U.S. energy major billions in exports if workers' demands on wages and conditions were not met.

Aug. 28

Workers at Chevron's offshore Wheatstone facility grant unions the power to call strikes on their behalf. 

Aug. 28

Unions representing workers at Chevron's two major Australian LNG complexes say that they will take industrial action from Sept. 7. 

Aug. 29 

Chevron's workers release details of industrial action including potential work stoppages of up to 10 hours. 

Sept. 1 

Chevron workers reject a company pay and conditions offer. 

Sept. 1 

The offshore alliance says no meetings have been scheduled between unions and Chevron. 

Sept. 4

Mediation talks to avert strikes at Chevron's LNG facilities in Australia begin once again. 

Sept. 5

Chevron workers announce plans for total strikes from Sept. 14 if their demands were not met. 

Sept. 5 

Some employees of Chevron's Wheatstone LNG facility in Australia offer to work during industrial action in a bid to avert domestic supply disruptions, the Offshore alliance says. 

Sept. 6

Workers at Chevron's LNG facilities agree to  pause planned strike action for one day until Sept. 8.

Sept. 7 

Chevron's LNG workers agree to delay the strike until 1 p.m. local time in Perth (0500 GMT) on Sept. 8 from the earlier scheduled start at 6 a.m. in Perth. 

Sept. 8 

Workers at Chevron's LNG project begin strike as talks between the company and the unions fail to yield any results. 

Sept. 9 

Chevron starts withdrawing contractor workers from Gorgon as the strike continues. 

Sept. 11

Chevron says it sees "no reasonable prospect of agreement" with the workers and would apply to the Fair Work Commission for an "intractable bargaining" declaration, which, if granted, would end the strike and allow the labor regulator to dictate an agreement.

Sept. 12

The office of the labor regulator said it would hold a hearing on Sept. 22 about the dispute, while the unions wanted it to be held at a later date in November. 

Sept. 14

Union group Offshore Alliance said a turbine tripped at one of Wheatstone's two LNG trains, which convert natural gas into liquid, on the same day strikes escalated. 

Sept. 15

Workers begin a 24-hour strike at Chevron's LNG plants. Union representative says they intend to extend industrial action for a further two weeks to mid-October.

Sept. 18

Chevron says full production had resumed on Sept. 17 at its Wheatstone LNG plant after a fault last week cut production by almost a quarter.

Sept. 20

Latest round of talks between Chevron and unions at its two LNG facilities in Western Australia ends without a deal.

Sept. 21

Chevron says it would accept the terms of a deal brokered by the Fair Work Commission to end the dispute. 


 (Reuters - reporting by Sourasis Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel, Shinjini Ganguli and Eileen Soreng)


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