Workers at two Chevron Corp.-operated liquefied natural gas export plants in Australia are threatening to begin strike action next week, ratcheting up pressure on negotiations and putting global energy supply at risk.
(Bloomberg) — Workers at two Chevron Corp.-operated liquefied natural gas export plants in Australia are threatening to begin strike action next week, ratcheting up pressure on negotiations and putting global energy supply at risk.
Unions gave notice that industrial action at the Gorgon and Wheatstone facilities would begin on Sept. 7 if no agreement is reached with Chevron on pay and working conditions. Strikes may not immediately affect production, but prolonged action increases the risk of disruption.
Read More: Chevron Australian LNG Workers Threaten to Strike Next Week
The risk of strikes has rocked the global gas market, with fears that outages could trigger bidding wars between Europe and Asia for spare shipments. The two multibillion-dollar facilities made up roughly 7% of global LNG supply last year.
That comes after Woodside Energy Group Ltd. last week said it had reached a breakthrough with unions at its nearby North West Shelf LNG plant and that no notice of industrial action would be issued while the parties finalize the agreement.
Here are the key dates so far:
- July 26: Australia’s Fair Work Commission, a labor regulator, authorizes the Australian Workers’ Union and the Communications, Electrical, Electronic, Energy, Information, Postal, Plumbing and Allied Services Union of Australia to hold ballots of members at Woodside’s North West Shelf operations on industrial action
- Aug. 9: Almost 150 Woodside workers vote in favor of potential action
- Industrial action must start within 30 days of a completed ballot, unless the commission grants an extension
- A union needs to give up to seven days’ notice before any industrial action commences
- Aug. 10: The commission approves requests by the AWU and CEPU to hold ballots on action among members at Chevron’s Gorgon LNG facility. Separately, the regulator approves both unions to hold votes among workers at the Wheatstone downstream LNG facility
- Voting needs to be completed no later than 10 days after a ballot order is made
- Aug. 14: Requests by the AWU and CEPU to hold ballots of workers at Chevron’s Wheatstone platform on industrial action are also approved
- Aug. 15: Talks take place between Woodside and unions on disputes at the North West Shelf operations
- Aug. 18: A ballot of workers at Chevron’s Gorgon and Wheatstone downstream facilities begins
- Aug. 21: Voting among workers at Chevron’s Wheatstone offshore platform opens
- Aug. 23: Woodside avoids strikes after a 15-hour meeting with union results in an in-principle agreement. If a deal wasn’t reached, strikes would have started as soon as Sept. 2
- Aug. 24: Workers at Gorgon and Wheatstone downstream plants voted in favor of enabling strikes if a deal isn’t made
- Aug. 28: Workers at the Wheatstone platform voted in favor to enable strikes
- Unions give Chevron seven working days’ notice for industrial action
- It isn’t clear when the unions and Chevron will meet for negotiations
- Aug. 31: Deadline for workers to vote on Chevron’s proposed enterprise agreement on pay and other matters, which the unions oppose
- Sept. 1: Deadline for Woodside and unions to agree to a final deal
- Sept. 7: Workers can begin industrial action at Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG export plants; unions have said they plan to each week escalate actions including rolling stoppages, bans and limitations until Chevron agrees to demands
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