Chevron asks regulator to intervene in Australia LNG strikes

Rob Verdonck and Stephen Stapczynski, Bloomberg September 11, 2023

(Bloomberg) – Chevron Corp. is applying to a labor regulator to help resolve its dispute with unions at liquefied natural gas (LNG) sites in Australia as workers continue partial strikes.

The producer has asked the Fair Work Commission to make intractable bargaining declarations for the Gorgon and Wheatstone facilities, adding to a similar request already lodged in relation to the Wheatstone platform, a Chevron spokesman said. Industrial action at the operations — which supplied about 7% of the world’s LNG last year — started Friday, sending benchmark prices soaring.

The commission confirmed it received three applications from Chevron and said it would hear the cases on Tuesday.

Under new rules in force since June, parties in an employment dispute in Australia can apply to the commission for an intractable bargaining declaration after they have held negotiations for at least nine months, or under some other conditions. If granted, the commission can make a determination on terms and conditions of employment.

“Throughout the process to date, we’ve made generous, good faith offers and concessions,” the Chevron spokesperson said. “The unions are asking for terms significantly above the market.”

The partial strikes include work stoppages and bans on carrying out overtime and some other duties. Members of the Offshore Alliance, a grouping of two key unions, said they plan to stop work completely for two weeks starting Sept. 14 if no agreement is reached.

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