Contractor wants to reduce offshore wages and benefits

Unions are unimpressed with offshore contractor UGL, which proposes to reduce wages, cut annual leave, change shift rotations and remove several other benefits as it negotiates 
a new enterprise agreement with workers.

Unions are unimpressed with offshore contractor UGL, which proposes to reduce wages, cut annual leave, change shift rotations and remove several other benefits as it negotiates a new enterprise agreement with workers.

A PROPOSED enterprise agreement for maintenance crews on Esso oil and gas platforms show a possible 10 per cent cut to wages.

Unions are circulating offshore contractor UGL's draft enterprise agreement which cuts annual leave, changes shift rotations and removes several benefits.

The dual trade loading and offshore allowance are significantly reduced, fixed-term employment would be introduced, and several situations, such as inclement weather or standing down, would be at UGL's discretion.

Gippsland Trades and Labour Council secretary and Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union organiser Steve Dodd said the cuts would have a flow-on effect to communities like Sale.

"We're disappointed in Esso," he said

"We know Esso; there's no need for what they're doing."

The proposed agreement allows for construction engineering company UGL to have lawyers at dispute meetings, which Mr Dodd said he was concerned about.

"What chance does a worker have if they're confronted by lawyers?" he said.

"It's way over the top."

Mr Dodd also maintained allowing rosters to be set at unequal levels, such as three weeks on, one week off, would be damaging for workers' families.

"How do people plan their family life?" he asked.

"A lot of guys are in a workplace determination with Esso, which wants two weeks on, two weeks off we want one week on, one week off," Mr Dodd said.

"We've got guys with caring responsibilities, or are worrying about access to their kids, (Esso's) not taking the human element into it.

Mr Dodd said he was also concerned about companies allegedly hiring temporary workers, with no experience in the industry, to sign workplace agreements on behalf of the entire workforce

"The government should not be allowing companies to find these loopholes," he said.

"It's destroying communities.

"We're going to take it lying down."

A representative from UGL declined to comment, as negotiations are ongoing.

An Esso spokesperson said it was up to UGL to determine the resources it needed to manage the contract.

Gippsland Senior
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