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Offshore members one step close to Prelude EA

September 1, 2022

Offshore Alliance members will soon vote on a proposed enterprise agreement covering workers on Shell’s Prelude floating liquefied natural gas plant that will change the face of Australia’s oil and gas industry after in-principle agreement was reached between the Offshore Alliance and Shell.

The upcoming vote comes after an epic campaign that included 76 days of protected industrial action that is estimated to have cost the Anglo-Dutch energy giant about $1.5 billion in lost production.

The ballot for the agreement’s approval will open on Saturday, September 3, and close on Tuesday, September 6, with the Offshore Alliance encouraging all members to vote “yes”.

 

The proposed agreement will cover about 230 people employed by Shell who work on the Prelude. The vast majority are Alliance members.

Under the in-principle enterprise agreement, Offshore Alliance members have secured a range of improvements including immediate salary increases of between $30K and $50K, improved rostering and, critically, new job security and career progression provisions.

Job security had been a major sticking point in negotiations between Shell and the Alliance, which is comprised of The Australian Workers’ Union and the Maritime Union of Australia.

Shell has now agreed that if it increases its use of contractor or labour hire workers on the Prelude, it will not reduce the number of employees covered by the new agreement as a consequence.

Other significant wins in the EA include:

  • Income protection insurance.
  • Fixed rosters.
  • Increase in overcycle from 130% to 150%.
  • Redundancy entitlement of 16 weeks plus 3 weeks per year of service.
  • Improvements in travel, training, mobilisation delays, onshore roles, higher duties and fatigue management.

Offshore Alliance spokesperson and AWU National Secretary Daniel Walton said that, subject to the vote, the union was pleased to finally strike a deal with Shell Prelude management.

“While it’s disappointing that industrial action had to take place our members should be extremely proud of what they have secured for themselves, for their families, and for each other,” Mr Walton said.

“I know our members are keen to get back to work as usual – more secure in their jobs – and able to help Shell Prelude be as successful as it can be.

“We look forward to a productive and constructive relationship with Shell management from here.”

Negotiations on a new agreement began in 2020 after the Alliance filed an application in the Fair Work Commission for a majority support determination. Throughout negotiations, another nine separate applications to the Fair Work Commission were made.

Shell dragged its heels throughout the process, but was forced to reach an agreement after Offshore Alliance members’ protected action eventually forced it to shut down production and cancel major maintenance work planned at the facility.

 

“On behalf of the Offshore Alliance I extend my thanks to the Fair Work Commission and acknowledge the long nights and weekends necessary to mediate this dispute and assist the union and Shell reach agreement.

“The Offshore Alliance now looks forward to negotiations with Santos, Chevron, and Woodside where we hope to achieve similarly positive outcomes – but hopefully via a smoother process.”

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