(Bloomberg) -- Chevron Corp. and unions are close to a deal that would end strikes at liquefied natural gas plants in Australia that have roiled global markets, with the nation’s labor regulator putting forward new proposals to resolve remaining disputes.
“The parties are on the precipice of achieving historical first enterprise agreements,” the Fair Work Commission said in a statement dated Thursday. “A large number of issues have been settled. However, a failure to settle all of the outstanding issues will result in those agreed provisions simply evaporating.”
Walkouts at Chevron-operated Wheatstone and Gorgon LNG export facilities could potentially end as soon as Friday, as the commission has set a deadline of 9 a.m. Sydney time for the two parties to respond to its suggestions.
Recommendations from the regulator touch “on some key bargaining claims,” and workers will meet Thursday evening to review the details, Brad Gandy, Western Australia Secretary for the Australian Workers’ Union, said in a statement. “We will take direction from our members in how we respond.”
Chevron is also reviewing the recommendations, the company said in a statement.
The parties “have spent countless hours at the negotiating table,” the FWC said. “It would be a pity and very frustrating to simply throw out these agreed positions” by failing to find compromise on remaining sticking points.
Workers at Chevron’s Wheatstone offshore platform could be offered a field loading allowance — compensation for the remote nature of their jobs and associated travel — of A$103,000 ($66,028) a year, and staff at onshore plants a total of A$85,000 a year, the regulator said in its recommendations.
Employees who suffer lengthy travel delays should be provided with a per diem of A$34.95 for breakfast, A$49.35 for lunch and A$69.20 dinner, according to the statement.
If the sides reject the commission’s proposals, which include revised terms on pay, travel and expenses, a hearing will be held at 10 a.m. in Sydney to decide on so-called intractable bargaining declarations — meaning the regulator would be able to end the dispute by independently setting new terms and conditions of employment.
Read More: Chevron, Australia Unions Fail to Make Deal Amid LNG Strikes
Union members at Chevron’s projects started ramping up strikes last week, including with a series of 24-hour stoppages, threatening to reduce exports from one of the world’s biggest LNG suppliers and sending global prices higher.
(Updates with union comment in the fourth paragraph.)
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