…company gets US177B in tax breaks but penny pinching its workers – Australian MP
By Kiana Wilburg
American multinational, ExxonMobil, makes huge profits on its operations in Australia. Yet, the company is “penny-pinching” with the salaries of its workers. Several Australian Parliamentarians have described this state of affairs to be “disgraceful” and “outrageous” while noting that they stand with ExxonMobil employees who are protesting the issue.
Early last year, ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, Esso Exploration, took a decision to fire the hundreds of local plant operators unless they accept a 15 to 30 percent slash in their salaries. In addition to this, they must also agree to significant changes to their rostering arrangements which would have taken them away from their families for months at a time.
The decision by ExxonMobil sparked a strike by workers which lasted for over 300 days. Several Parliamentarians have voiced their concern on the matter, stating that ExxonMobil’s behaviour is shameful and warrants an inquiry by the Senate.
Senator for Tasmania, Peter Whish-Wilson, said, “I want to point out to every Senator in this place and indeed to every Australian, that this company that employs them, that can’t afford to pay them decent wages and conditions, this company that is penny pinching at every opportunity that it possibly can, is also not paying tax in this country.”
He continued, “Despite being one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world, they haven’t paid a cent in Corporate Income Tax in the last two years and possibly longer. They had revenue of US$5.2B in 2016 and had increasing production and skyrocketing gas prices in Australia…
“ExxonMobil also has subsidiaries in the Bahamas and the Netherlands…Remember the debates we have had in committees about multinational tax avoidance? They have hid this corporate structure from the Senate Inquiry into Corporate Tax Avoidance which I happen to be on…”
Whish-Wilson added, “We have hearings coming up this year and we are going to do our job to try and hold Exxon to account to actually pay the taxes they owe the Australian people. Workers also raised the issue of having the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax changed.”
The Senator pointed out that Exxon Mobil was able to benefit from US$177billion worth of tax breaks. He said that this is “ridiculously generous deductions this government gave the big polluter.”
He said, “Imagine what we could do with US$177B…It is incredible to think about how much money these oil companies don’t pay us yet they want to be undercutting salaries and working conditions.”
Whish-Wilson concluded, “It really is outrageous!” (See link for full speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIdCrtVGweA)
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