Esso maintenance workers

Workers gathered at Geelong Trades Hall on November 24 to raise funds for Esso maintenance workers in Longford, Victoria, who have been locked out for 170 days. Barbecues sizzled, drinks flowed and Scabby the Rat was inflated, while workers were entertained by the classic rock band, Rock n Roll Exchange.

Esso’s maintenance contractor UGL, which operates maintenance on the gas rigs in Bass Strait, ended the previous employment agreement and offered workers a new agreement with 40% less pay, worse conditions and extended rosters on the platform with no guaranteed shore breaks.

Esso Longford workers have revealed the latest mascot in the fight for jobs at the company’s Gippsland gas plant. With Scabby the Rat banned by a Federal Court order, Greedy the Pig has stepped in to continue the struggle.

The workers have been on strike since June over a new enterprise agreement agreed to by three contractors in Western Australia, which then applied nationally. The workers were told to accept 15-30% wage cuts on two-week fly-in, fly-out rosters or lose their jobs.

A protest by maintenance workers outside Esso’s Longford gas plant in Victoria has entered its 12th week.

Esso has locked out maintenance workers from its oil and gas plants in Victoria and its offshore platforms in Bass Strait.

The move is part of an enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) dispute with members of the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and the Australian Workers Union (AWU).

Unions had imposed bans on overtime and call-outs as part of their campaign against Esso’s proposed changes to pay and conditions. The lockouts affect the Longford gas plant, Long Island Point and Esso's oil and gas plants in Bass Strait.

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