A general view of Chevron's Wheatstone LNG facility. Chevron/Handout via REUTERS

A general view of Chevron's Wheatstone LNG facility in Pilbara coast, Western Australia, as seen in this undated handout image obtained by Reuters on September 8, 2023. Chevron/Handout via REUTERS

Strike Called Off at Chevron’s Australian LNG Facilities

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September 22, 2023

Sept 22 (Reuters) – Australia’s Offshore Alliance union has called off strikes at Chevron’s two major local liquefied natural gas (LNG) local projects that threatened to disrupt around 7% of the world’s LNG supply.

The union and Chevron accepted proposals from the country’s industrial arbitrator, resolving a wage fight that has roiled global gas markets since early August.

Chevron had been negotiating with the workers for months at the same as Australia’s Woodside Energy, which managed to avert strikes last month after reaching a deal.

Here is a sequence of events leading up to the strike action:

Aug. 9Workers at Woodside’s liquefied LNG facilities in Australia vote for industrial action.
Aug. 10Chevron and Woodside say they are holding talks with union to avert any potential action by the workers.
Aug. 11Australia’s labor regulator, the Fair Work Commission, allows workers’ union to hold a ballot of employees to decide if they wanted to make a decision on taking industrial action at Chevron’s Gorgon and downstream Wheatstone LNG facilities.
Aug. 15Negotiations between Chevron, Woodside Energy Group and Australian unions continue but a source with knowledge of the matter tells Reuters that the talks are unlikely to yield results for days.
Aug. 16Woodside says “positive progress” was being made on talks with a union alliance on disputes over the wages of workers.
Aug. 16The Offshore Alliance says during the negotiations Woodside was “well off the pace on key bargaining issues including job security and remuneration.”
Aug. 18Voting opens in Chevron’s facilities to let workers decide if they want to strike due to disputes over wages and working conditions.
Aug. 20Unions at Woodside’s North West Shelf offshore gas platforms announce plans to strike as early as Sept. 2.
Aug. 22Woodside CEO Meg O’Neil says the company has had “constructively addressed” several concerns of workers but said it also has a duty to shareholders to be able to run the business.
Aug. 23Woodside and unions meet for another round of talks to avoid the strikes.
Aug. 23Chevron’s Australian unit says it would increase domestic gas production capacity at its Wheatstone facility.
Aug. 24Woodside reaches an in-principle agreement with unions to avert strikes.
Aug. 24Workers at Chevron’s Gorgon and Wheatstone downstream facilities vote to allow unions to call for a strike if necessary.
Aug. 25Unions at Chevron’s LNG facilities in Australia warn that work stoppages could cost the U.S. energy major billions in exports if workers’ demands on wages and conditions were not met.
Aug. 28Workers at Chevron’s offshore Wheatstone facility grant unions the power to call strikes on their behalf.
Aug. 28Unions representing workers at Chevron’s two major Australian LNG complexes say that they will take industrial action from Sept. 7.
Aug. 29Chevron’s workers release details of industrial action including potential work stoppages of up to 10 hours.
Sept. 1Chevron workers reject a company pay and conditions offer.
Sept. 1The offshore alliance says no meetings have been scheduled between unions and Chevron.
Sept. 4Mediation talks to avert strikes at Chevron’s LNG facilities in Australia begin once again.
Sept. 5Chevron workers announce plans for total strikes from Sept. 14 if their demands were not met.
Sept. 5Some employees of Chevron’s Wheatstone LNG facility in Australia offer to work during industrial action in a bid to avert domestic supply disruptions, the Offshore alliance says.
Sept. 6Workers at Chevron’s LNG facilities agree to pause planned strike action for one day until Sept. 8.
Sept. 7Chevron’s LNG workers agree to delay the strike until 1 p.m. local time in Perth (0500 GMT) on Sept. 8 from the earlier scheduled start at 6 a.m. in Perth.
Sept. 8Workers at Chevron’s LNG project begin strike as talks between the company and the unions fail to yield any results.
Sept. 9Chevron starts withdrawing contractor workers from Gorgon as the strike continues.
Sept. 11Chevron says it sees “no reasonable prospect of agreement” with the workers and would apply to the Fair Work Commission for an “intractable bargaining” declaration, which, if granted, would end the strike and allow the labor regulator to dictate an agreement.
Sept. 12The office of the labor regulator said it would hold a hearing on Sept. 22 about the dispute, while the unions wanted it to be held at a later date in November.
Sept. 14Union group Offshore Alliance said a turbine tripped at one of Wheatstone’s two LNG trains, which convert natural gas into liquid, on the same day strikes escalated.
Sept. 15Workers begin a 24-hour strike at Chevron’s LNG plants. Union representative says they intend to extend industrial action for a further two weeks to mid-October.
Sept. 18Chevron says full production had resumed on Sept. 17 at its Wheatstone LNG plant after a fault last week cut production by almost a quarter.
Sept. 20Latest round of talks between Chevron and unions at its two LNG facilities in Western Australia ends without a deal.
Sept. 21Chevron says it would accept the terms of a deal brokered by the Fair Work Commission to end the dispute.
Sept. 22Australian union alliance calls off strikes at Chevron’s two major LNG projects after accepting proposals from the country’s industrial arbitrator to end long-running disputes over pay and conditions.

(Reporting by Sourasis Bose, additional reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonali Paul)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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