The battle between Gorgon LNG developer Chevron and arch enemy the Maritime Union of Australia has got personal.
On the opening day of the biggest annual gathering of oil and gas industry leaders, Chevron Australia managing director Roy Krzywosinski hinted that union leaders in Australia were irrational just moments after the MUA unveiled a provocative paper mache statue of a Chevron Gorgon executive upside down with his head in the sand.
"I believe they don't know what's going on at this project in Australia - it's bad management, they don't want to hear about it, and those Chevron managers have got their head in the sand," MUA WA secretary Christy Cain said.
Mr Cain and a small group of MUA and International Transport Workers' Federation officials gathered in front of the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre as Mr Krzywosinski addressed 3500 APPEA delegates.
Mr Krzywosinski has in the past made clear his frustration with industrial relations in Australia and the disruptive impact he says they are having on Gorgon's construction process.
One complaint is that workplace agreements for developments such as his $US54 billion Gorgon venture are not for the life of the construction process.
"It may surprise you to hear that since 2009 Gorgon has been subject to almost 1000 disruptive right of entry claims from unions," Mr Krzywosinski told the APPEA conference.
"That same imbalance in the employer-employee relationship also explains how unions have leveraged significant and unsustainable wages and conditions hikes over recent years."
The MUA and the ITWF have taken their campaign against Chevron to the global stage, with MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin in Europe talking to union affiliates representing 5½ million workers around the world.
"We want to get Chevron in America and talk to their executives," Mr Cain said.