Kawasaki considers legal action over non-payment claims in Inpex dispute
The Japanese company at the centre of a major contract dispute at Darwin’s Inpex Ichthys LNG project is considering legal action over non-payment claims which emerged following mass redundancies earlier this week.
Kawasaki Heavy Industries has rejected claims it owes millions of dollars to Laing O’Rourke and in a statement to the ABC said it made “significant efforts to resolve the matter”.
The latest contractual dispute between Inpex sub-contractors has left 850 people jobless, but it is not the first occasion hundreds have been laid off.
Ichthys project operator Inpex has revealed it stepped in to help find new jobs for almost 200 UGL workers who were stood down during a prior industrial dispute which occurred in January.
For dozens of workers on the project, it has been an unfortunate case of deja vu — some employees have been fired not once, but twice this year alone.
“Around 60 per cent of the workers have been re-deployed from that earlier incident, and that includes all ten apprentices who were on that job,” Inpex’s Perth-based general manager of external affairs, Bill Townsend, said.
Inpex also dismissed suggestions it could have intervened earlier to help Laing O’Rourke employees, given it helped UGL in January.
“We are not intervening here, what we are doing is working very closely with our contractors and sub-contractors, as well as with Government, to find ways and connect people back to jobs,” Mr Townsend said.
But the unions claim at least 30 of the re-deployed workers were then hired by Laing O’Rourke — the company that sacked more than 800 people at the Ichthys site this week.
Electrical Trades Union organiser David Hayes says workers have been left high and dry by the fallout.
“There’s frustration knowing there is so much work to do out there, and they are just wondering what to do now — do they pack up and go, do they hang around… who knows,” he said.
Inpex told the ABC its Darwin-based general manager Sean Kildare was unavailable to discuss the issue today after his 50th birthday celebrations overnight.
“I’m pretty disgusted really, given that 850 workers off his project have gone down the road this week, and he can’t be available to discuss things with media and answer some questions,” Mr Hayes said of the situation.