Wheatstone shower fracas

MORE than a thousand workers expressed their frustration at Chevron's Wheatstone LNG project last week after a new directive was issued.
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The new policy requires workers to pack their bags and put them in a storage area ahead of their last shift before flying out. At the end of the shift they go back to the common area where they can either choose to not shower before flying out or use a separate ablution block with communal showers.

This new policy, which takes away the workers opportunity to have a shower in the privacy of their own dongas before flying out, has angered a lot of people, according to CFMEU state secretary Mick Buchan.

An image published on a FIFO Facebook page shows hundreds of workers assembled on grass at the Wheatstone project with this forum saying there were 2000 people there to talk about the issue of shared showers.

Buchan told Energy News that the CFMEU would pursue the matter this week to try and get some common sense out of the client and the principal contractor.

"It is completely unacceptable to cut corners on accommodation arrangements for workers, particularly in light of the recent concerns around the mental health and wellbeing of FIFO workers.

"Once again, we see companies treating their workers poorly, to be moved in and out of accommodation at their will. It is time for industry to have the decency to provide their workers with dignified accommodation arrangements.

Buchan is urging Chevron to review their decision.

"We call on Chevron to reverse this directive so that workers can go back to their donga for a shower and unwind after a long shift before making the journey home.

"Just last week, the WA Parliamentary Committee inquiring into the impact of FIFO work arrangements made a number of recommendations around the need for improvements in the treatment of FIFO workers, and this directive goes in a completely opposite direction."

Buchan said that there were also concerns around the health and safety of communal showers.

While Chevron has not explained why the new shower directive was issued, Buchan said there were rumours that the next thing on the cards was bringing double bunks into the accommodation.

A lack of planning for the size of future workforce needs has been blamed as a consequence.

In relation to the new shower policy, Chevron said it was common industry practice.

"In line with industry practice, Wheatstone has moved to same day turnaround of its site accommodation," a Chevron spokesman told Energy News.

"We are committed to providing a high standard of facilities for our employees."

The Wheatstone construction workforce is estimated to number around 4000.

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