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Prelude goes vegetarian for workplace reform

The offshore cooks on Shell’s floating Prelude LNG platform are banning meat and coffee to encourage action by employer Sodexo.

Workers are pursuing fair conditions including responsible pay increases that reflect offshore working difficulties, a clause to prevent Sodexo replacing them with labour hire staff and certainty around rostering agreements.

In this pursuit, the facility staff – who provide food, laundry and entertainment facilities to gas and oil workers – will restrict catering to cold vegetarian meals and water as well as refusing to restock vending machines, undertake television repairs and delivery laundry. 

Offshore Alliance spokesperson and Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) National Secretary Daniel Walton said the workers were determined to stand up for their working rights.

“We were reluctant to take this action because our members understand the impact this will have,” said Mr Walton.

“It’s bloody tough working for long stints away from family and friends in the middle of the ocean. Comforts like food and drink become extra important.

“But it’s precisely because of the value our members in catering provide, and the sacrifices they make to perform their duties, that we need to correct the substandard deal they are currently on.”

Mr Walton said while vegetarianism is a fine and noble choice, it’s not the kind of thing to relish being imposed on anyone; nevertheless, most offshore workers appreciate a condition correction is “long overdue, and they understand the need to stand strong.”

“For now, it’s the greater good that’ll have to be served – but we hope soon it’ll be the T-bone.”

AWU WA Branch Secretary Brad Gandy said Sodexo offshore employees are some of the lowest paid in the industry, last receiving a pay rise in 2017 under their long-expired agreement. 

“AWU members working for Sodexo have provided the company with additional patience and flexibility during the past few months but the company continues to sit on its hands,” said Mr Gandy.

“Sodexo’s inability to make a decision has left us with no option but to pursue protected action on offshore facilities.

“AWU members working for Sodexo are completely fed up with Sodexo’s inability to deliver an enterprise agreement that stops the company from being able to replace its own workers with cheaper labour at any given moment.

“Sodexo employees work hard and deliver exceptional service, all they are asking in return is to have security in their employment.”

Sodexo provides services to major players in Western Australia’s offshore, remote northwest including Shell, Jadestone, Noble and Valaris.

For more information visit the AWU website.

If you have news you would like featured in The Australian Pipeliner contact Managing Editor David Convery at dconvery@gs-press.com.au

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