Strike in full swing at Prelude FLNG

SOURCES speaking exclusively to Energy News this afternoon said that union workers at Shell Australia’s Prelude FLNG had kept their word and gone on strike at the LNG vessel from this morning.
Strike in full swing at Prelude FLNG Strike in full swing at Prelude FLNG Strike in full swing at Prelude FLNG Strike in full swing at Prelude FLNG Strike in full swing at Prelude FLNG

Paul Hunt

Senior Journalist: Energy & Commodities

Paul Hunt

Energy News understands 66 caters, cooks, and cleaners have gone on strike calling for better wages and job security from contractor Sodexo. No cleaning, laundry services, or hot meals are being served by union members to workers aboard the vessel as a result.

There are only 30 Sodexo staff at any one time on Prelude. 

Unions are calling for better job security and a higher pay rate. The union's claim the Prelude FLNG workers contracted by Sodexo are the "lowest paid" in the region. 

On Tuesday Sodexo flew several other workers out to the Prelude FLNG in a last-ditch effort to minimise the impact of the strike and secure some hot food for Shell's workers. Sources told Energy News workers on Prelude were still receiving hot meals, however cooking and cleaning was being delayed. 

These new contractors have been labelled by the unions as "strikebreakers" and "scabs". 

Union sources told Energy News today that a further 30 workers, this time contracted by Monadelphous, would go on strike at Prelude FLNG in the coming weeks. 

A second protected action ballot will be held next week to ensure workers are legally allowed to strike and will not suffer legal ramifications for their protest. The application for the ballot is before the courts. 

If the unions are successful, this would take the total workforce on strike at the vessel nearly 60. However, due the fact that Prelude FLNG is currently not producing, the impact is expected to be minimal, seperate industry sources told Energy News.

Unions are also planning a major event targeting Shell Australia's headquarters on Wellington Street in Perth. 

Shell has been accused of pressuring Sodexo to abandon an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement. If the unions are correct and Shell did interfere in EBA negotiations, those actions would be considered illegal. 

Shell Australia has strongly refuted those claims. 

Both the Maritime Union of Australia and the Australian Workers Union stand by their accusations and plan to protest at Shell's HQ, however sources were not forthcoming with details. 

A second source, based on the Prelude FLNG vessel, said the unions were in "for the long game." 

"Sodexo can fly out other workers to Prelude. But by the end of the year it will cost them more than the union's demands," the source said. 

"It would equate to more than six full-time salaries."