Efforts to finalise an agreement that ended strikes at Chevron’s two Australian liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants hit a snag on Thursday, with unions accusing the U.S. energy major of reneging on commitments made to Australia’s industrial arbitrator.
Workers called off strikes less than two weeks ago after unions and Chevron accepted proposals on pay and conditions proposed by the country’s industrial arbitrator, the Fair Work Commission.
Since then the parties have been working to turn the commission’s broad recommendations into a legally binding contract.
However, the Offshore Alliance, a coalition of two unions, on Thursday said Chevron had “reneged” on its commitments. Members would meet on Thursday and Friday to discuss the issue, according to a statement posted to social media.
A union representative who declined to be named said they would recommend workers serve Chevron notice of intent to resume strikes.
Chevron and unions had made progress drafting the agreement, but differences remained over issues like reimbursement for meals or travel for training, according to a second union representative involved in the negotiations.
A Chevron spokesperson said the company had accepted the recommendations of the Fair Work Commission and would “continue to work with all parties to finalise the drafting process based on the recommendation.”
If the two sides fail to reach a deal, the matter could go back to the commission, which had been due to begin hearings on whether to intervene and end strikes when the parties reached an eleventh hour agreement.
Weeks of strikes at Chevron’s Gorgon and Wheatstone facilities, responsible for around 7% of global LNG supply, roiled natural gas markets, although no LNG shipments were disrupted.
(Reporting by Lewis Jackson in Sydney and Urvi Dugar in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill and Sonali Paul)