Unite Urges Members to Vote Yes for Strike Action in OCA Pay Dispute
UK union Unite is urging its members to vote yes for strike action, and action short of striking, in a continued dispute with the Offshore Contractors Association over pay.
“It takes a huge collective effort to extract crude. Likewise, it takes a huge collective effort to win a fair pay rise,” a Unite spokesperson said in a newsletter created for the strike ballot.
The ballot officially opened on May 2 and will remain open until June 30.
Unite members are seeking a substantial wage increase for all workers, including salaried workers, improved sick pay and the introduction of paid travel to an employer’s onshore base.
“Our members are growing angry over the behaviour of the OCA employers,” Unite Regional Officer John Boland said in a statement sent to Rigzone last month.
“Until we get genuine commitment from the OCA to improve their offer, we will continue to act on our members’ wishes, and give them the chance to have a say on possible industrial action, including strike action,” he added.
In a March consultative ballot, 81 percent of Unite members voted to reject the latest pay deal put forward by their employers (represented by the OCA).
This was the second pay offer rejected by Unite members, after 85 percent voted to discard a separate OCA proposal back in December of last year. According to a Unite statement, the proposal would not have seen an increase in pay nor improvement to workers’ terms and conditions.
Commenting on the dispute, OCA CEO Paul Atkinson told Rigzone that the OCA’s priority has always been to find ways of avoiding any disruption.
Industry body Oil & Gas UK has emphasized the need for the parties to work together.
“The business climate continues to be really challenging for our industry. We really hope all parties can keep talking because we want the UK Continental Shelf to be seen by investors as an attractive place in which to do business,” Oil & Gas UK Chief Executive Deirdre Michie said to Rigzone in April.
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