Speaking from the ITF congress in Bulgaria today, International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) president Paddy Crumlin said Australia’s Barrow Island could be declared a ‘port of convenience’ unless Chevron tempers its union-busting efforts in the offshore oil and gas sector.
Chevron’s Gorgon LNG project off Australia’s north-west coast has overrun from USD37 billion to USD54 billion due to the company’s ongoing mismanagement.
But rather than take responsibility for its poor performance, parts of the company insist unions were to blame, said Paddy Crumlin, who is also national secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).
“If Chevron continues to seek to exclude my union from an Australian island which will export natural gas then it will have to be declared a port of convenience,” Crumlin told the 43rd ITF congress in Sofia, Bulgaria.
“They are suing the MUA for no more reason than workers on the job ensuring that occupational health and safety standards are met.
"We have made attempts to reach out to Chevron, we travelled to their shareholder meeting in Midland, Texas, earlier this year."
It was there the MUA received an assurance from Chevron chief executive John Watson that unions were not to blame for cost blowouts on the Gorgon project.
Watson said he had "no intention of blaming organised labour for cost overruns or delays at Gorgon."
"Employers need to clearly decide whether they want to work with unions – and we’ll be there – or against unions – and we’ll be there as well,” Crumlin said.
The 43rd ITF congress in Sofia brings together almost 2,000 participants from 379 unions in 116 countries.