Wheat­stone lead­er­ship ques­tioned

Pilbara News - - News - Peter Williams

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.

Pic­ture: Danella Be­vis

AMWU State sec­re­tary Steve McCart­ney, right.

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