Unions Put North Sea Strike Ballot on Hold Following Improved OCA Offer

GMB announced Thursday that it has put its official strike ballot on hold while its members consider a revised offer of working conditions from the Offshore Contractors’ Association.

GMB and Unite officials held talks with the OCA in Aberdeen June 17 regarding unilateral changes to conditions for workers covered by the Offshore Contractors Agreement in UK waters. These changes focused on shift patterns, holidays and sick pay and had led to a call for strike action by the unions last month, after a series of unsuccessful talks between GMB, Unite and the OCA. Following the OCA's latest proposal, both GMB and Unite have agreed to put industrial action ballots on hold while union members consider the offer.

GMB National Officer David Hulse commented in an organization statement:

"These latest talks with OCA went well. We have a new offer on the table. We will now put the improved offer to members for them to consider.

"We have put giving notice of the official strike ballot on hold while members consider the new offer. We will continue to prepare for the ballot should it be necessary to go ahead with it."

Unite Officer Willie Wallace said in a Unite press release: 

"Talks have been constructive and we have made enough progress to be able to put an improved offer from the OCA to our membership. It’s for them to decide if this offer is good enough."

Commenting on the latest developments between GMB, Unite and the OCA, Chief Executive of the Offshore Contractors Association Bill Murray said in an OCA statement: 

"We welcome that union officials have decided not to go to an industrial ballot over changes to shift and holiday patterns and are instead consulting with members.

"We hope that union members can support…[our] offer so we can move forward and ensure that the industry is best placed to prevent further redundancies and secure future investment in the UK North Sea."

A graduate in journalism from Cardiff University, Andreas has eight years of experience as a business journalist. Email Andreas at andreas.exarheas@rigzone.com

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