Aussie unions fight contractor's cuts at gas plant

02.11.2017

Oil and gas giant ExxonMobil/Esso is allowing a contractor, UGL to cut wages and conditions by up to 30 per cent and introduce harsh anti-family rosters for workers in Victoria, Australia. In response, the workers are protesting outside the Longford gas plant in south-eastern Victoria 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.

Members of IndustriALL Australian affiliates AMWU, AWU and ETU have been campaigning to save their jobs and their community since June.

The contractor UGL is using underhand tactics and loopholes in Australian law, trying to force the 200 workers into an agreement approved by just a handful of unrelated workers in Western Australia, miles away from their workplace.

If accepted, this would result in a 30 per cent pay cut to the workers on site at Longford, as well as reduced allowances and annual leave. A harsh anti-family shift roster could see workers move from one week on and one week off, to five weeks on and one week off.

The Australian unions fighting for their workers say in a statement:

Once again, multinational corporations are coming to Australia, exploiting our resources, not paying tax and slashing our wages. Regional Victoria is already reeling from huge job losses, and cutting these workers’ wages will be devastating for the local economy.

Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary, says:

The scourge of precarious work is trying to extend its grip on workers, but the unions are fighting back. IndustriALL supports the campaign and calls on Esso to take responsibility for its supply chain and urgently engage in a constructive dialogue.

The workers in Victoria maintain and operate Esso’s onshore and offshore rigs. Despite huge wealth and soaring profits, Esso paid zero tax on the AUS$8.5 billion it made in Australia last year.

Here is how you can support the protesting workers: