UGL, Esso Worker Dispute


Peter Khalil: Back in June this year, 220 maintenance workers at Esso in Victoria employed by contractor UGL were terminated and offered their jobs back with a cut of up to 30 per cent of their wages and the introduction of a roster that will see them lose very valuable time with their families. Esso’s parent company, ExxonMobil, already pays no tax in Australia. Now they’re allowing UGL to rort these highly skilled employees, some of whom have decades of experience and work in dangerous conditions to ensure the consistent supply of gas to south-eastern Australia. All this was done with no notice and no consultation with the workers. That just isn’t right. I met a delegation of the Esso workers at Parliament House in the last sitting week. These guys are all proud members of the Australian Workers’ Union, the ETU and the AMWU, and they have been maintaining a peaceful protest at the Longford gas plant in Victoria. They will continue to do so for however long it takes until they’re reinstated on the terms and conditions of employment that they had negotiated in good faith with their employer. But, while Esso and UGL let this dispute roll on, facilities are being either left unmanned or staffed with underskilled, undertrained personnel. This poses a safety risk to the existing workers and the facilities themselves. I call on Esso to negotiate in good faith and stop hurting these communities and their families. Do the right thing.