Wheatstone leadership questioned
Workers at Chevron’s Wheatstone LNG site have accused project manager Bechtel of poor leadership over its handling of incidents of alleged inappropriate workplace behaviour.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union said about 260 Bechtel employees had signed a petition saying they had no faith in a manager’s ability to organise and manage workers on his shift.
The move followed a July 18 meeting at Wheatstone to air their grievances.
The document said the manager had been unprofessional and offensive while addressing workers twice in the previous week.
“The leadership must expect a higher standard and lead by example, and in this case both are sadly lacking,” the petition said.
The union said Bechtel had told workers to lodge individual complaints through its dispute process.
It’s believed the complainants were wary of retribution if they went through that process.
The petition nominated the AMWU to represent the workers. Bechtel, a US multinational engineering company, said it had not received the petition but had dealt with the matter.
“Bechtel takes all matters of this nature very seriously and is committed to promptly and confidentially investigating all complaints,” a spokeswoman said.
“On this particular occasion, a thorough investigation was conducted and appropriate action has been taken.”
Bechtel declined to say what that action was, citing staff confidentiality. The AMWU said the manager was still working. State secretary Steve McCartney said it was a disgrace workers’ initial concerns had been brushed aside.
“We’re not going to stand by while Bechtel bury this issue under layers of company bureaucracy,” Mr McCartney said.
Thousands of workers have been involved in construction of the Chevron-operated $US34 billion Onslow project, of which Woodside Petroleum is a minority shareholder.
Bechtel told the Fair Work Commission that in the course of the project, 128 workers had been removed from the site for breaching its community code. Half of those evictions were because of violent or aggressive behaviour.
About 30 contractors had been kicked off the site in the past year.
Examples given suggested such behaviour mostly occurred outside working hours.
AMWU State secretary Steve McCartney, right.