The below is a press release issued by the Australian Workers Union and the Maritime Division of the CFMMEU yesterday (29 October 2018) regarding the formation of a “offshore gas alliance” (note: published in full, unedited). 

The Australian Workers’ Union and the Maritime Division of the CFMMEU (formally the MUA) have officially joined forces in an ‘Offshore Alliance’ to fight for workers in Western Australia’s booming offshore gas industry.

With Western Australia accounting for over 75 per cent of Australia’s – and 15 per cent of the world’s – liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, AWU National Secretary Daniel Walton said the time right for the historic alliance.

“The AWU and the Maritime Division of the CFMMEU have been trying to organise the offshore industry for two decades. But due to a range of unique challenges in the sector, our unions have traditionally had mixed levels of success,” Mr Walton said.

“The large resource companies have had some success in playing Unions off against each other. I am confident the Alliance will put an end to this and allow offshore workers to organise.

“With over 40 platforms, plants and offtake tankers operating in WA, and some 20,000 employees in the oil and gas sector, we have a responsibility to ensure workers get a fair deal from the resource companies.”

CFMMEU Maritime Division Deputy National Secretary Will Tracey said the alliance was being forged at a critical time.

“With the Floating Liquid Natural Gas processing ship, Prelude, about to come online the AWU and MUA were having the normal union discussions around which union covered which workers,” Mr Tracey said.

“But instead of following the old framework, this time we saw the opportunity to work together to organise the industry through an Offshore Alliance.

“This alliance will see Australia’s two biggest blue-collar unions working together to organise all workers in the offshore industry. By working together and pooling our resources we have a real opportunity to do what we couldn’t do by ourselves.

“The Offshore Alliance will enable our unions to work cooperatively to organise offshore workers and be a powerful voice for workers’ rights. Members in WA’s offshore gas sector will get access to the resources and benefits of both unions.”

Any employers who wish to discuss this further should contact an AMMA Workplace Relations Consultant at your local AMMA office.