A proactive approach to productive workplaces

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA responds to Robert Gottliebsen on industrial relations agreement negotiations for the Wheatstone and Gorgon projects.

Dear Mr Kohler,

Recent media regarding Resources construction productivity

I am writing to clarify inaccurate information published in two articles which featured in Business Spectator late last week: Miners must fess up on IR dirt’, published December 5, 2012 and ‘Unmasking the Gorgon cost monster’, published December 6, 2012.

Both articles featured inaccurate assertions about the role of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA (CCI) during industrial relations agreement negotiations for the Wheatstone and Gorgon projects.

In the December 6 article, Mr Gottliebsen states Chevron used a local chamber of commerce to undertake their labour arrangement for the Gorgon Project. CCI had no involvement in the negotiation of industrial agreements of the Gorgon Project. We began engaging with the Gorgon Project in the second half of 2010 and were only formally engaged to provide support to contractors by Kellogg Joint Venture Gorgon in the second half of 2012.

In regards to December 5 article, Mr Gottliebsen claims "no contractors were involved in the development and negotiation of those base terms and conditions”. The correct information is that the Wheatstone Agreements were negotiated by the first significant contractor with assistance from CCI and input from Bechtel (the engineer).

The CCI Construction Services Guide Mr Gottliebsen refers to provides clients with information on the current market wages and conditions in specific areas. This is to ensure contractors are aware of the costs involved to hire and retain skilled workers, often in remote locations. These are guides only, with wages and conditions ultimately set by the individual companies and not CCI.

Major resource industry construction projects are high cost and complex for the most experienced players, let alone new entrants. For 30 years we have worked with industry to foster a productive working environment by proactively providing employment relations advice that has helped companies invest billions of dollars in to the Australian economy.

Kind Regards,

Lindsay O’Sullivan

Chief Officer – Business Services
Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA

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