As oil price recovers, Unite demands industry halts job cuts

The recovering price of oil should bring an immediate end to the oil and gas industry’s opportunistic campaign of job cuts and impositions to working conditions, Unite, a workers’ union in the UK has said today.
The call comes after talks with Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) employers convened yesterday in the wake of a consultative ballot which showed over 93 per cent support for industrial action among Unite members in the OCA.

Unite says that over 10,000 offshore jobs have been cut since prices plunged to $50 per barrel at the turn of the year. The union accuses the the industry of moving rapidly to impose a regressive three weeks on, three weeks off shift pattern (three and three) and cuts to pay and holiday entitlement without consultation.

However, Unite now says that with the price of Brent crude trading around $68 USD per barrel this week and forecast to hit $70 USD, the union believes the time for the industry to step-back and negotiate with its workers over the future of the North Sea is now.

Unite Scottish Secretary Pat Rafferty said, “The recovering oil price should put an immediate stop to the decimation of crucial jobs and the imposition of regressive working practices across the North Sea.

“Our members have been very clear that the industry’s actions will not only compromise the sustainability of jobs and skills for the next generation of oil recovery, it could also have catastrophic consequences for offshore safety too.

“OCA employers have taken this first step but the industry majors must also stop exerting commercial pressure on its contractors, allowing some breathing space to negotiate a sustainable future between workers and employers.

“What we cannot accept however is the industry continuing to run roughshod over its workers’ livelihoods, pay and working arrangements – particularly the three and three imposition on shift patterns.

“This race to the bottom must stop and we will know in the coming weeks when the OCA talks reconvene if the industry is serious about ending its campaign of aggression.”

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