Worker left wondering what's fair at shutdowns
SOME of the 400 people hired for a Queensland Curtis LNG shutdown last month were employed on permanent contracts for three weeks' work, a Gladstone man has claimed.
Disputing if it is fair to not receive casual loading for three weeks of work, he said he was among several employed by Walz Contsruction and Monadelphous for the work as a permanent employee.
The worker, who wanted to remain anonymous, told The Observer workers employed by different contractors, on a casual basis, received $12 per hour more.
"This was a first for everyone I spoke to ... as you can imagine we were not happy," he said.
He said some shutdown workers were on site for 10 days, others for three weeks.
Monadelphous, Walz and the owner of QCLNG, Shell, did not confirm if employment of the shutdown workers had changed from casual to permanent this year.
Instead when responding to The Observer's questions the companies highlighted the economic benefit of the three-week shutdown.
Monadelphous maintenance and industrial services general manager eastern region Duane Oxford said emplees were hired on "fixed-term contracts" for the shutdown, in line with the company's resourcing requirements.
He said the company recruited more than 100 people for the shutdown, prioritising people from Gladstone.
A Walz spokesman said, "Walz prides itself on continually employing Gladstone locals and continues to employ in excess of 10 apprentices per year".
Shell said the scheduled maintenance work at its LNG plant provided a "major boost" to the Gladstone economy of several million dollars. A shell spokesperson said more than 30 Gladstone suppliers were contracted.
Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union delegate Andrew Lockwood said there needed to be legislation around if a person is hired as permanent or casual.
He said there needed to be a set time-frame for what amount of work is considered permanent and what was casual.
"When you're at shutdowns there's people who want that casual rate, but as far as protections go, (the union) is trying to get more people on permanent on a whole," Mr Lockwood said.
"Companies say you have protections as a casual, but they don't need any excuse to get rid of you except for 'we don't need you any more', there's no job security."