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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Chevron worker warns of 'mutiny' on Barrow Island over treatment during Cyclone Olwyn

Updated about an hour ago Accommodation on Barrow Island where workers were forced to sleep on air mattresses after TC Olwyn hit PHOTO: Workers were forced to sleep on blow-up mattresses in common areas at the accommodation camps at the Gorgon project on Barrow Island. (Supplied) RELATED STORY: Workers stranded as Cyclone Olwyn hits Barrow IslandRELATED STORY: Cyclone Olwyn barrels along Pilbara coast MAP: Barrow Island 6712 A Chevron employee says there is going to be a "mutiny" among workers on Barrow Island off Western Australia's north-west coast today, in protest over the treatment of workers when severe Tropical Cyclone Olwyn tore through the region yesterday. The mining union accused the US energy giant of failing to evacuate workers from the Gorgon gas project, despite the category three cyclone bearing down on the region. The West Australian branch of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) said up to 1,600 workers were forced to sleep on blow-up mattresses in common areas of the project's accommodation camps because there were not enough rooms to house them. Chevron said the company followed "normal" cyclone procedures, and the safety of workers was its highest priority. The employee, who wished to remain nameless, said some workers were refusing to go back to work today. "People here are furious. There is going to be a mutiny. They should have moved us before Thursday," the employee said. In the middle of the storm my mate and I had to run from our camp to the other camp that had food and water and my mate nearly got hit with one of those 50 kilometre speed signs that was flying through the air. An anonymous Chevron employee on Barrow Island "They are trying to send us back to work today. The whole place is flooded. I refused. I'm taking a stand." He said workers were forced to sleep in accommodation only built to withstand category two cyclones. "They told us to go to our rooms and they'd come and get us if it went to a category three. How were they going to get us? You can't run around in the middle of a category three storm," he said. Some workers had to sleep on the floor while water leaked into their rooms and some buildings flooded. "In the middle of the storm my mate and I had to run from our camp to the other camp that had food and water and my mate nearly got hit with one of those 50 kilometre speed signs that was flying through the air," he said. "There was nowhere for us to get food or water at our camp yesterday." The employee said their contracts state that workers can opt to stay on if a cyclone hits, but be placed in a cyclone-proof camp, or they can choose to leave. Those who chose to leave were told in a meeting yesterday they could not leave because there were birds on the runway. The meeting descended into chaos as hundreds of men started yelling abuse at the bosses, saying they did not believe them. "What birds nest during a cyclone? They just didn't want the expense of flying hundreds of men out of here and back again," the employee said. In an earlier statement, Chevron said they understood there would be some inconvenience caused, "as with any significant weather event". "Chevron Australia places the highest priority on the health and safety of its employees and contractors and has a rigorous cyclone preparation plan in place," the statement said. "We have purpose built cyclone rated facilities in place at the Gorgon project on Barrow Island." From other news sites: The Sydney Morning Herald: Cyclone Olwyn moves close to WA coast The Australian: Cyclone Olwyn lashes WA coast near Exmouth Byron Shire News: 1600 mining workers stranded by Cyclone Olwyn Yahoo!7 News: Cyclone Olwyn approaches Exmouth - The West Australian Powered byPowered by Bing Find out more about these links Topics: disasters-and-accidents, cyclones, workplace, accidents, barrow-island-6712, wa, australia First posted about 4 hours ago Print Email Facebook Twitter More More stories from Western Australia

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