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Impending Strike Threatens Woodside Energy’s Operations

A plant decorates the booth of Australian petroleum exploration and production company Woodside Energy during the LNG 2023 energy trade show in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, July 13, 2023. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

BNR – Woodside Energy Group faces the looming threat of a strike as unions linked to an Offshore Alliance. The alliance comprises the Maritime Union of Australia and Australian Workers’ Union.

Looming Industrial Action Could Disrupt LNG Shipments

It has announced the intent to initiate industrial action as early as 2 September 2023, over a disagreement on pay. The strike has the potential to disrupt liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments from Australia, a major global exporter of LNG.

The North West Shelf offshore gas platforms are at the heart of this dispute, feeding into Australia’s largest LNG plant. In accordance with Australian labour regulations, unions must provide seven working days’ notice prior to any industrial action. However, there remains the flexibility for the unions to call off the action within this timeframe.

The Offshore Alliance expressed its unanimous endorsement of delivering the required notice to Woodside Energy. They indicated the possibility of a strike if the company does not address the unions’ bargaining claims. This timeline sets the stage for a potential strike to commence on 2 September 2023.

Spokesperson Brad Gandy of the Offshore Alliance said Woodside Energy’s efforts to deter collective bargaining with its workers have failed. Gandy emphasised that while workers do not take industrial action lightly, the company’s refusal to heed their concerns has left them with limited options.

Woodside Responds

Woodside Energy, in response to the developments, refrained from commenting directly. However, it referred to a prior statement indicating a commitment to engaging actively and constructively in the ongoing bargaining process.

99% of Woodside workers granted unions the authorisation to call for various forms of industrial action, including work stoppages. The Fair Work Commission in Australia granted permission for “protected industrial action” to proceed.

The Offshore Alliance’s influence also extends to Chevron’s Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG facilities. Workers have begun voting on whether to grant unions the authority to initiate strike action.


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