North Sea oil and gas workers ballot for strike action over pay

Picture by Danny Lawson/PA
Picture by Danny Lawson/PA
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Hundreds of North Sea workers are to be balloted next week on strike action in a pay dispute.

Unite, in conjunction with the GMB and RMT unions, will ballot more than 200 Wood Group workers on eight of Shell's North Sea oil and gas platforms.

Unite said its members are facing a pay cut of up to 22% from the Wood Group, rising to 30% once allowances are added.

The ballot, on options including strike action and industrial action short of a strike, will open on Wednesday June 15 and close on Wednesday July 13.

Any industrial action would start on July 20.

Unite regional officer John Boland said: "Unite members are not immune to the challenges facing the oil and gas industry.

"We, along with other trade unions in the offshore co-ordinating group, have been leading the debate on the need to hold an emergency summit involving the Scottish and UK governments, employers and trade unions to deliver greater support for the sector.

"However, due to the intransigence of the Wood Group, which is seeking to impose pay cuts of up to 30%, our members have been faced with no other option but to consider strike action.

"We remain committed to constructive negotiations with the company and urge them to get back round the table, but they must be prepared to work with us to find an agreed settlement.

"If management does not respond in a positive fashion, then Unite will resolutely act to support and protect our members."

A Wood Group spokeswoman said: "Our priority has always been, and remains, the safeguarding of long-term employment opportunities for our employees on these assets.

"We are strongly committed to working closely with our employees and the unions to meet our mutual goal of sustaining these jobs in the North Sea, now and in the future.

"The terms and conditions under review have been approved by the Offshore Contractors' Association and the recognised unions.

"During the consultation process, we have attempted to reach an agreement with our employees by offering an enhancement to these terms and conditions, aligned with their competency and experience.

"We are extremely disappointed to be in this position during the consultation process and remain focused on continuing to engage with our employees and the unions to reach a positive resolution."