Subject: The Age: Australian labor union seeks parity in Timor Gap project

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

The Age [Melbourne] Wednesday, January 16, 2002

ACTU seeks Gap parity


ACTU president Sharan Burrow flew into Dili yesterday to demand parity for East Timorese workers on Timor Gap gas platforms.

After an hour-long meeting with Chief Minister Mari Alkatiri, Ms Burrow said Australian unions "are not under any illusions that where a company is not held to some formal labour agreement, especially in this kind of international enterprise, they will try to get labour as cheap as possible. This country deserves a chance like any other."

Mr Alkatiri and Phillips Petroleum, the Ohio-based company leading an offshore natural gas consortium, announced before Christmas that they had endorsed a $US1.5 billion ($A2.9 billion) pipeline between Darwin and the Bayu Undan gas fields south of Timor.

Final documents are still being drafted for signature, and the unions have suggested that wage parity between Australian and Timorese workers should be written in to the final accord.

Ms Burrow said she had proposed to the Chief Minister that they hold a conference in Dili in March.

"We hope that Australian companies and companies based in Australia would be proposing labour arrangements in East Timor that would be supportive of a sustainable labour base here," she said.

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