||Issue No. 245||05 November 2004|
What’s In a Name?
Interview: The Reich Stuff
Economics: Crime and Punishment
Environment: Beyond The Wedge
International: The End Of The Lucky Country
Safety: Tests Fail Tests
Politics: Labo(u)r Day
Human Rights: Arabian Lights
History: Labour's Titan
Review: Foxy Fiasco
Poetry: Then I Saw The Light
The Locker Room
Let's Start A New Party
Offshore Embassy for Families
In a move that is being strongly resisted by Gippsland based workers and their families, Esso, part of the Exxon-Mobil group, is attempting to shift workers onto a 14-day roster.
"Workers are already missing their kids birthdays and grand finals," says John Parker from the Offshore Workers Embassy. "With this move kids will start to miss their dad and rely on not having a dad around.
"It puts a huge strain on the family and fathers get isolated."
Parker says the Longford embassy is a place for oilrig workers and their families to bring their grievances, to get represented and to get information.
Contractors for Esso, including Lothways TBS Pty Ltd, are being pressured to fall in with the Esso plan to shift from the current seven day on-seven day off arrangements to 14 days on-14 days off.
A move by Esso contractors Kellogg, Brown and Root and Corke Instrument Engineering to introduce a non-union collective agreement including the roster changes was rejected when 96% of workers voted down the change in a secret ballot.
"This is yet another signal that these changes are unacceptable to working men, many of whom are fathers, who should not be forced to be away from the families for a fortnight each month," says Australian Workers Union (AWU) national secretary Bill Shorten.
An AWU survey earlier this year found 90% of workers wives opposed the 14-day rosters.
Workers represented by the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and Construction Forestry Mining and energy Union (CFMEU) have entered talks with a conciliator in an attempt to resolve the dispute.
"The longer we're sitting around the campfire the more we're hearing about what workers employed by these contractors have to put up with," says John Parker from the CFMEU. "They are forced to share protective equipment, they are out in wet weather hanging over the ocean dealing with storms and sleeping four to a 14 x 14 foot room.
"Sharing these rooms with three other blokes for 14 days would not be pleasant."
Parker says one worker described oilrig conditions as "like a prison ship".
The Embassy is also investigating allegations of workers being exposed to asbestos on ESSO Oil Platforms.
A Family Picnic Day is scheduled for the Embassy on Sunday, November 7..
The embassy has erected a Christmas tree and is vowing to stay until problems are resolved.
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