A storm has erupted in Gippsland Australia Esso a company owned by Exxon a muilt national American company. Workers have been picketing for 224 days. At the centre of the storm reside two multinational corporations, Exxon Mobil and contractor UGL, who have signaled their intent to employ some of the most heavily criticised tactics used by bruised beer company Carlton United Brewery (CUB) in its six-month self-declared war on maintenance workers.
The plan of these giant corporations is to cut the wages and conditions of offshore and onshore oil and gas maintenance workers in the Bass Strait by shifting them onto a dodgy agreement with a recently created shelf company of contractor UGL.
This agreement, signed by only a handful of casual workers in Western Australia, could see workers lose up to 30 per cent of their wages on an anti-family roster system with shift rotations at the employers’ whim.
But just like CUB, the unions and workers will not take this lying down. The AMWU, ETU and AWU have joined together to prevent the tax-thieving gas giant from driving down wages and conditions through these dodgy tactics.
AMWU organiser Steve Dodd said that Esso and UGL are making a mockery of the Fair Work Act and evading their responsibilities to workers and the community.
“The last thing the Gippsland community needs is a super profitable multinational company like Exxon Mobil cutting wages and conditions by trying to force local workers onto a dodgy, unrepresentative agreement from the other side of the country,” said Mr Dodd.
“It’s a real kick in the guts to this community already doing it tough,” he said.
Mr Dodd said that the fact that Exxon Mobil paid no tax in Australia despite a revenue of $8.4 billion in 2014-15 added to the community’s outrage at the tactics of the two companies.
“The writing is on the wall for this sort of greedy corporate behaviour – Australians have had enough. They know it and we know it, that’s why they’re making this last ditch disgraceful effort to hurt the wages and conditions of working people,” he said.
“If they think they can get away with this, they’re wrong. The workers have seen what was done at CUB and know that these dodgy employment agreements can be fought and won,” said Mr Dodd.
“Exxon Mobil and UGL need to rethink their actions and give these workers and their community a fair deal, and the government needs to fix our broken workplace laws to prevent this happening to anyone else. We won’t stop in our efforts to fix this, until they do,” he said.
The storm clouds may be dark in the Bass Strait, but these workers have seen off far harsher storms.