Thousands of UKCS Workers Edge Closer to Strike
UK union Unite has confirmed that the “vast majority” of its 2,500 members covered by the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) agreement have voted for industrial action.
The industrial action ballots follow the rejection of an OCA pay offer in July by Unite’s offshore membership in a consultative ballot.
“Thousands of Unite members in the offshore sector have sent the OCA employers a clear message through these industrial action ballots,” Pat Rafferty, Unite Scottish secretary, said in a union statement.
“We have suffered too much for too long through sweeping cuts to jobs and pay alongside the growing introduction of 3/3 shift rotas. Now it is time that we share in the rewards. We hope the result encourages the industry to revisit their paltry offer or it will face widespread industrial action disruption created through their own greed and intransigence,” he added.
In its industrial action vote announcement, Unite talked of the “dramatic increase” in the price of crude oil over the past year.
“The price per barrel has increased from $67 at the start of the year, producing significant windfalls for offshore energy companies after years of downsizing and cuts in the industry,” Unite said in a union statement.
Unite confirmed that it will attend talks scheduled for November 6 with OCA employers, “with a view to resolving the pay dispute”.
The OCA represents a range of companies, including Aker Solutions, Petrofac Facilities Management, Sparrows Offshore Services, Wood and Worley Parsons. All of Unite’s 2,500 members covered by the OCA agreement work within the UKCS.
“Our shared priority is to reach a fair and reasonable settlement,” Paul Atkinson, CEO of the Offshore Contractors Association, said in an organization statement.
“We arranged to get together for talks with union officials before any ballot results were known. I know that we all share a commitment to resolve this dispute as quickly as possible and that remains our absolute priority,” he added.
Commenting on the dispute, Alix Thom, industry body Oil & Gas UK’s workforce engagement and skills manager, said, “our industry has worked hard to improve its competitiveness since the downturn and stability is an important factor in attracting much needed investment in the basin”.
“Therefore we very much welcome the fact that talks will take place … and support all parties in working towards an agreement,” he added.
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