Kwinana BP Refinery staff fight pay cuts

Chloe FraserSound Telegraph
AMWU State secretary Steve McCartney in Kwinana.
Camera IconAMWU State secretary Steve McCartney in Kwinana. Credit: Supplied

More than 150 workers at BP’s Refinery in Kwinana have been caught up in an industrial dispute, with employees facing what is being described by the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union WA as a “take it or leave it” deal.

According to AMWU WA State secretary Steve McCartney, workers are facing a 20 per cent cut to wages and the loss of important workplace conditions, which had previously been “democratically agreed to between workers and the company”.

The dispute follows BP’s decision on April 30 to award Broadspectrum a $140 million four-year contract to deliver maintenance, turnaround and brownfield construction services. The contract, scheduled to take effect from August, will mean maintenance and construction contractor employees will need to reapply for vacant roles with Broadspectrum.

A BP spokeswoman said if successful, employees would be “remunerated in line with current market conditions”.

“Our industry is changing rapidly and many businesses, like BP Kwinana Refinery, are adapting to remain relevant and competitive for the future,” she said.

The BP refinery in Kwinana.
Camera IconThe BP refinery in Kwinana.

“We recognise change can be unsettling and we’re working to keep our employees and contractors informed as we modernise our business.

“This contract provides ongoing and long-term career opportunities for oil and gas professionals who want to work local to where they live.”

However Mr McCartney said workers were “disgusted and angry”.

“It’s a race to the bottom when a company decides to pump their profit margins by cutting wages and conditions in the workplace,” he said.

“The oil and gas industry makes enormous profits from the labour and resources of West Australians. The maintenance workers at the BP’s Kwinana refinery ensure that it runs, as BP describes it, as ‘Australia’s most flexible refinery, capable of producing cleaner fuels’.

“These cuts are a unilateral attack on their most valuable workers,” he said.

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