MUA's Ichthys agreement

JAPANESE energy giant Inpex has signed new work arrangements with the Maritime Union of Australia on the $US34 billion dollar Ichthys LNG development that the union says will support around 2000 Australian jobs.
MUA's Ichthys agreement MUA's Ichthys agreement MUA's Ichthys agreement MUA's Ichthys agreement MUA's Ichthys agreement


Haydn Black


The Enhanced Dispute Settlement Process, Development & Production Arrangement will run until at 2030 and includes commitments towards the development of maritime employees, the implementation of a diversity program, and the promotion of Australian crews on certain project support vessels.
The commitments are aimed at retaining and enhancing the skills and experience of Australian maritime workers in the offshore oil and gas sector and also involve an enhanced dispute settlement process with a dedicated conciliator to help resolve potential disputes without resort to industrial action.
MUA Western Australian Branch secretary and national president Chris Cain said the work arrangements cover rig tenders, drilling rigs, seismic vessels, supply vessels and accommodation vessels.
"As a result of this arrangement, we expect there will be up to 2000 Australian jobs on the project - not just for MUA seafarers but other maritime workers as well, all on Aussie wages and conditions," Cain said.
"This is great news for Australian workers who have been experiencing the recent downturn in offshore oil and gas construction and we'd like to thank Inpex for sitting down with us and finding a way to maximise local jobs on this important project."
The agreement also covers the Australian Maritime Officers Union and Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers.
Pay, conditions and the use of Australian workers in the offshore sector, particularly during the sector's construction phase, has been a sore point since the Abbott government came to power in 2013 and sought to wind back rules brought in by the Gillard government.
Ichthys is expected to produce 8.9 million tonnes of LNG and 1.6MMtpa of LPG each year, along with more than 100,000 barrels of condensate per day at peak, for a projected live of 40 years.
MUA national secretary and International Transport Workers' Federation president Paddy Crumlin said jobs for members and energy security were both central topics to the national workforce and its communities.
"This announcement provides great relief to our members and other Australian workers, many of whom are currently unemployed and rightly expect to have first crack at jobs in their own country, rather than 457s and other overseas workers who are introduced to this and other Australian industries with no other rationale other than to undercut pay and conditions," Crumlin said.
"These natural resources belong to the Australian people and are our sovereign wealth now and going forward. Consequentially and properly, the benefits of our assets must also flow to the entire community through Australian job opportunities.
"These types of work arrangements are incredibly important to provide investment certainty and security of supply and it is worth noting that since the MUA and the other Maritime Unions signed a similar agreement covering the north-west shelf in the 1980s, not a single day has been lost to industrial action."