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Workers Consider Return To Strikes At Chevron’s Australian LNG Plants

Workers at Chevron’s two LNG facilities in Australia could decide as soon as this week to resume industrial action after accusing the U.S. supermajor of reneging on key aspects of the regulator-imposed deal, The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Thursday, quoting a source close to the talks.

Two weeks ago, the trade unions ended the strike at the Wheatstone and Gorgon facilities after the country’s labor market regulator mediated a settlement between the parties.  

The strike began on September 8 after they failed to reach an agreement with Chevron about working conditions and wage demands.

“The Offshore Alliance will now work with Chevron to finalise the drafting of the agreement and members will soon cease current industrial action,” the union said, as quoted by Reuters when the mediated deal was reached on September 22.  

But the Offshore Alliance said on Thursday in a Facebook post that “Chevron have reneged on the commitment they gave to the Fair Work Commission to incorporate the FWC’s Recommendations into the Chevron EBA’s for the Wheatstone and Gorgon facilities.”

The trade union is calling meetings for its members on Thursday evening and Friday afternoon Australia time and said it would be “recommending members push back against the industrial bastardry of Chevron.”

A protected industrial action, if decided upon, could only begin after a notice of seven days.

“We have accepted the recommendation of the Fair Work Commission ... and we continue to work with all parties to finalise the drafting process based on the recommendation,” a spokesperson for Chevron told The Sydney Morning Herald.

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Another industrial action at Chevron’s two facilities – which collectively account for 7% of global LNG supply – could drive natural gas prices higher just as Europe and north Asia are preparing for the winter heating season. Europe’s benchmark natural gas prices were highly volatile at the end of August and September, due to concerns about the industrial action in Australia and reduced pipeline flows from Norway due to infrastructure maintenance.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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