Offshore Update March 2018


Last month we outlined the various offshore agreements that still had to be finalised. Some were working through a reasonably straight forward process while others such as Maersk had gone to ballots for protected action and still looked to be some time off before they were settled.

We can now report that we have virtually cleaned up the last of the industry and look to have removed, or at least be in the process of removing, all non-union agreement from the Australian offshore industry. When you look at the industrial landscape across Australia this has been a genuinely significant outcome against overwhelming odds.

  • SIEM – we have a Greenfields agreement that is in the process of being signed and which will go through to registration
  • Swires – the Swires agreement has been voted up and has been submitted for registration
  • Farstad – the Farstad agreement has been voted up and has been submitted for registration
  • Maersk – the Maersk agreement has now been endorsed by the MUA and has just been voted up by our membership. It will now be submitted to Fair Work for registration
  • Sodexo – the Sodexo agreement is a Greenfields agreement and is in the final stages of drafting before being submitted for registration
  • MC Maritime – we are finalising the draft agreement ready for registration as a Greenfields agreement
  • Tek Ocean – this agreement has gone out to clients for endorsement and will be put to a vote of our membership in early April
  • Toll – this agreement has gone through for registration as a Greenfields agreement


In the previous offshore update we attached a copy of a recent memo that the AMOU has distributed to it’s membership in the offshore to indicate that they still faced huge challenges in respect of their members being replaced by foreign officers whilst they still had substantial numbers of qualified members on the beach without work. Employers were again seeking to exploit the migration visa system to replace Australian officers.

We need to appreciate that the attacks on our jobs by companies seeking to replace us with foreign labour still remains. The corruption of the migration visa system through application for labour migration agreements seems to be the latest version of this attack. 


It will come as no surprise to MUA offshore members that while we have been able to see off AMMA’s influence in the MUA side of our industry the situation with ROV workers in the offshore industry is very different. A recent email from some ROV workers outlined clearly what happens to a group of workers in our industry when AMMA succeeds in their campaign to run an industry in their own self-interest and that of the global oil and gas majors. Remember of course that when the MUA ran the successful ROV campaign back in 2009 we rolled AMMA in a campaign of 12 months and increased the day rate for ROV workers by 50% on average. Most of that has now been lost as most ROV workers let their MUA membership lapse when the MUA agreed to let the AMOU represent these workers.

The ROV workers now describe an industry where each of the companies cut their rates savagely to win work and are now also lining up their workers for between a 12% to 17% rate cut this year to be followed by the AMMA recommended rate cut in the ROV industry for 2018/2019 of 9% to 10%. What we see is AMMA initiated action in the industry forcing rate drops for ROV workers of around 25% in this 2-year period alone.

There is also a message in this for our offshore divers.

Over a year ago the employers in the industry came to us seeking to cut the diving rates by 20%. AMMA said they would cancel current agreements if we didn’t agree but we held our ground. They will come back again when the diving agreements expire mid this year. The ROV experience tells us what happens when AMMA get full control of an industry and it certainly ain’t pretty. It also informs us of what the future looks like without a strong militant union representing workers in the oil and gas industry.