Union: JobKeeper won’t save offshore jobs

Saipem to deliver works for Scarborough

In a post on the group’s Facebook page this week, the Offshore Alliance took aim at companies who have cut offshore workers in recent weeks, saying most would be left out in the cold due to their casual employment status.

“Nearly all of the several hundred offshore workers who were stood down due to the impact of COVID-19, won’t get one cent of leave accruals to get them through the first week of unemployment. Let alone 6 months,” the union said.

“The Federal Government’s so-called JobKeeper Payment system will be lucky to save one job in the offshore oil and gas industry.”

The government’s JobKeeper initiative is a wage subsidy program designed to help businesses affected by COVID-19 cover the costs of their employees’ wages and keep them in a job.

Under the scheme, the government will provide $1,500 per fortnight per employee for up to six months; however, casual employees are only eligible for the payment if they have been with their employer “on a regular and systematic basis for at least the previous 12 months as at 1 March 2020”.

“Not one casual worker who was stood down on the Woodside platforms will get one cent of JobKeeper payments due to a failure in the JobKeeper safety net,” said the Offshore Alliance.

“The same is true on almost every other offshore facility.

“Offshore oil and gas workers who have been laid off due to the impact of COVID-19, have been thrown on the street by the big end of town and have now been stomped on by the Federal Government.”

Several hundred jobs in the oil and gas industry have been lost stemming from both the virus pandemic and the oil price crash.

Woodside, Oil Search and Santos are among those who have slashed jobs, while projects have been delayed and capital expenditure greatly reduced.

Woodside has received particular criticism from the Offshore Alliance and the Australian Workers Union for its handling of the situation, but the company said it “is working closely with [its] contractors and suppliers on measures to mitigate impacts on their businesses and their employees”.

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