UK Offshore Oil Worker Unions Reach Pay Deal with Employers

An agreement has been reached between GMB, the Amicus section of the trade union Unite and the Offshore Contractors' Association on new working patterns for offshore staff plus improved pay rates and allowances.

A ballot of union members is underway and will take up to three weeks to complete. If accepted, the deal will see workers get additional paid time off, rising to 4 weeks in total by October 2008. From that date, the maximum number of days worked offshore annually will be 154.

In return, the union membership are being asked to withdraw existing legal challenges relating to holiday pay and entitlement and agree not to pursue such claims in the future against OCA member companies.

Keith Hazlewood, GMB National Secretary said: "Our members have been very patient awaiting the outcome of these difficult negotiations, but the result has been worth it and we have no problem in recommending this new working pattern and increases to our members."

Commenting on behalf of the OCA, Chief Executive Bill Murray said: "We have had some very robust and frank discussions and exchanges with our union partners on what has been a difficult issue to resolve. We are delighted to have reached the point where an agreement will be recommended to the offshore workforce."

OCA Chairman Bob Keiller, Chief Executive of PSN, said: "Common sense has prevailed and we believe this agreement is a fair outcome for both parties. Implementation is a step process which will be managed in such a way over the next two and a half years to ensure it does not compromise safety.

I believe what the unions concerned are offering their members is something which keeps the UK competitive and will be of great help in retaining and recruiting the skilled offshore staff who are the lifeblood of our members' businesses."

It also shows the value of the partnership agreement we have held between our respective organizations for close on nine years.

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