The successful conclusion to a campaign that has run for well over 12 months in pursuit of better pay and conditions in Western Australia’s offshore oil and gas industry shows what can happen when union members stay strong and work together.
Over the past few days members of the Offshore Alliance working for Monadelphous onboard the Shell Prelude Floating Liquefied Natural Gas facility have voted to endorse an enterprise agreement covering their employment.
Of the employees covered by the agreement, 95% cast a vote and of those 90% voted to make the enterprise agreement after more than six months of protected industrial action.
The Offshore Alliance is a formal agreement between The Australian Workers’ Union and the Maritime Union of Australia in Western Australia. In operation since late 2018, over 1500 hydrocarbons workers on offshore facilities including oil and gas rigs, floating production, storage and processing facilities, and central processing facilities are members of the Offshore Alliance.
The newly-made EA includes wage increases totalling 17% over three years, offers of permanent employment for 44 casuals, an increase in permanent pay rates, $2300 per week 24/7 income protection insurance, fixed rosters, travel pay, delegates’ rights and training, increases in allowances, more opportunity for progression, and weekly severance pay into a severance fund.
“This is what happens when union members stick together and pursue their key claims collectively: they get a good outcome,” AWU National Secretary Dan Walton said.
“Over the past 10 years working conditions in the offshore industry have been under attack from employers through over-casualisation and contractors attempting to win work by direct cuts to workers’ pay packets.
“Many contractors use every loophole they can to secure the worst enterprise agreements they can and use them to undercut their competition. The Offshore Alliance has set out to stop this from day one and we are seeing great results.
“We are doing what we can to lift the terms and conditions of employment for offshore workers, and by any objective measure Offshore Alliance members are securing significant improvements in working conditions across the sector.”
This enterprise agreement campaign began last year and has involved hundreds of protected action stoppages by Offshore Alliance members from September 2020 until the end of March this year.
AWU WA Branch Secretary Brad Gandy said the campaign was in pursuit of securing an industry standard agreement for offshore maintenance contractors.
“This EA is a great result, with wage increases of 3.45% a year for three years, which is virtually unheard of in the current environment both in the sector and more broadly” Mr Gandy said.
Mr Gandy said members could stand tall knowing their efforts had delivered the following industrial outcomes:
● A 17% Pay Increase by May 1, 2024;
● Increases in the permanent employee relativities (to make it worthwhile to take a permanent job);
● The employer offering 44 permanent positions to current employees (there is currently no permanent employees);
● Rosters, hours and travel arrangements locked in;
● 24/7 income protection Insurance set at $2300 per week;
● A new classification structure with increased opportunity for progression;
● A significant uplift in the Rope Access Allowance;
● Two hours’ severance pay per week (including off-duty period) paid by the employer into an employee-run trust for permanent employees;
● All training costs and tickets paid by the employer (including casual employees); and
● Improved disciplinary procedures and dispute resolution procedures.
The Offshore Alliance says the battle for better industry outcomes has not ended and won’t end until there are union-negotiated industry standard enterprise agreements covering all offshore workers on all offshore facilities.