Contributed from Victoria
It’s been 663 days that the Esso Exxon workers in have been maintaining their picket at the Longford gas plant in Victoria’s Gippsland.
This makes it among the longest disputes in Australian history, and important, as a test case with implications across Australia It’s all about protecting jobs and livable wages.
Thanks to the enormous support these workers have been getting from around Australia, they have been able to keep on going.
Esso Exxon has also been determined and hung in, insisting on going ahead with its subsidiary paper company MTCT Services Pty Ltd acting act as a labour hire firm to slash pay by 30 to 50 percent, cut annual leave, allowances, shift loadings, and implement anti-family rosters lasting 5 weeks, and implement stand down clauses that would force workers to remain at work unpaid.
All this, while the income of its own top executives has gone up by 36 percent to $9.9 million.
This is a company that is making millions and at the same time gets away with paying no tax and using the Bahamas as a money Laundering operation. Meanwhile, consumers must suffer from skyrocketing prices imposed by monopoly control over the resource.
Although the Australian Tax Office said in 2018 that the company should be paying tax, $10 million has already been spent on holding this back and turning it over. This is from a company that says it cannot afford decent wages and working conditions.
Gas going to Longford, comes from the Bass Straight oil and gas fields, which is the largest supplier to Australia.
There is absolutely no justice here.
Scott Morrison even visited Exxon headquarters when he was in the United states last year, reportedly to talk about planned corporate tax cuts in Australia, instead of the workers livelihood.
For all these reasons, the continuing effort of this group of workers remains vitally important for themselves, their community and the rest of Australia. It should never be allowed to go off the radar. Support must continue.
Wherever possible, people should visit the picket line at Longford, and they should keep on donating money to keep this group of courageous workers and their families getting by.