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The Offshore Alliance: Remotely Operated Vehicle

June 18, 2021

Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) pilots employed by Total Marine Technology on West Australian oil and gas installations have achieved pay gains and better conditions in an enterprise agreement organised by the Offshore Alliance.

ROV pilots operate underwater vehicles that inspect, maintain and repair the subsea assets of offshore oil and gas operators such as Woodside, Shell and Chevron.

The Offshore Alliance is the offshore oil and gas union. Join today.

At its peak, the ROV sector employs up to 200 workers in Australia, and about 40 workers are covered by the new agreement, which is the first ROV enterprise agreement negotiated by the Offshore Alliance.

The Offshore Alliance, a combination of the two principal offshore oil and gas unions, The Australian Workers’ Union and the Maritime Union of Australia, has more than 1800 members in Western Australia alone.

AWU WA Branch Secretary Brad Gandy says the TMT deal shows the benefits of working together as a union.

“This agreement shows that the Offshore Alliance is the union for all offshore oil and gas workers, regardless of what you do,” Mr Gandy said.

The agreement includes:

  • An immediate 6% uplift on offshore rates of pay;
  • Immediate uplifts of $4 to $6 an hour for onshore rates of pay;
  • Yearly guaranteed pay-rate increases;
  • Simplification of a complex and disadvantageous classification system;
  • A cyclone payment should a cyclone interrupt working time;
  • An isolation and quarantine payment of $2000;
  • A travel payment at full rates should workers mobilise or demobilise on a day other than the day they reach or leave their place of work.

“This agreement is the first negotiated by the Alliance in the ROV sector, but it will not be the last,” Mr Gandy said.

“It proves that no matter what part of the offshore oil and gas industry you are involved in, you can join the Alliance and the Alliance will support and work for you.”

The Offshore Alliance began organising the ROV workers as part of the broader offshore hydrocarbons sector in late 2020.

When it approached one of the key contractors in the sector – DOF Subsea – to bargain, the company refused to negotiate, claiming that the Alliance could not enrol ROV pilots as members.

The Alliance took DOF Subsea to the Fair Work Commission, and in November the Commission agreed with the Alliance, finding that the Alliance can enrol and represent ROV members.

The Alliance then approached the four ROV contractor companies that perform most – if not all – of the ROV work in the hydrocarbons sector, requesting that they come to the bargaining table.

Three of these, Oceaneering, DOF Subsea and TMT, agreed. Bargaining began with TMT in November.

In December TMT put an agreement to workers that was not supported by the Alliance, and employees voted it down.

On June 4, Alliance members at TMT voted in favour of the Alliance-supported EA.

The Alliance commenced negotiations with Oceaneering and DOF Subsea late last year.

The Offshore Alliance is the offshore oil and gas union. Join today.