Woodside commits act of “bastardry”, union says

Woodside LNG tanker at a loading terminal

The Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) says Australian gas giant Woodside has committed an act of “industrial bastardry” on its workforce by standing down more than 400 workers without pay.

The union said Woodside broke ranks with its competitors Shell, INPEX and Jadestone that consulted with employees to minimise the impact of COVID-19 measures by providing additional flexibility and special payments.

More than 400 contractor employees that were stood down were from Woodside’s Goodwyn and North Rankin platforms, along with Woodside floating production storage and offloading units.

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The Offshore Alliance—a union alliance between the Australian Workers’ Union and the Maritime Union of Australia—has committed to fighting “tooth and nail” to get Woodside to the table.

“Today’s decision by Woodside is maybe the most heartless corporate response we’ve seen to the COVID-19 crisis to date,” said Offshore Alliance spokesperson and Australian Workers’ Union National Secretary Daniel Walton.

“To just bring down the axe on 400 workers without a whisper of consultation, or the suggestion of special arrangements, is unconscionable.

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“This is a company that announced a $1.3 billion dollar profit in 2018. There is zero need for them to treat their offshore workers this callously.

“The COVID-19 crisis is hurting all of us and changes will be necessary. But how we respond is the measure of our decency. Woodside have made a huge moral blunder here. The impetus now is for them to own up and fix their mistake.

“Shell, INPEX, even Jadestone — all have proven that it’s possible to balance a response to coronavirus with basic decency to your workforce. For Woodside, an Australian in the market, to fall so short is hugely disappointing.

“The Offshore Alliance will be fighting tooth and nail to get Woodside to the table and extract a commitment from them for their workers.”