GMB Scotland officers are to seek permission from GMB Scotland Regional Committee to move to ballot members covered by the Offshore Contractors Agreement over possible strike action following what they say are unilateral changes to working conditions.
The union says that this follows lack of progress when GMB and Unite met with representatives of the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) on Friday, February 13, in London to further discuss the crisis in the North Sea caused by the decline in oil prices.
The Offshore Contractors Association is the body for offshore contractors based in Scotland. The agreement covers members working in mechanical, electrical and allied services, construction, modifications and maintenance work, design and project engineering, fabrication and decommissioning.
“GMB believes that any changes to rotas could have a serious impact on the safety of those working offshore and we urge the companies to rethink the proposals.”
John Kelly, GMB Scotland Regional Officer, said: “There is a ‘blatant opportunism’ on the part of some of the oil companies and contractors in seeking to fundamentally attack the terms and conditions of our members employed in the offshore industry.
“There are also major concerns over the proposed changes to shift rotas and the health and safety implications that could follow from a major change. GMB believes that any changes to rotas could have a serious impact on the safety of those working offshore and we urge the companies to rethink the proposals.
“My next step is to report to GMB Scotland Regional Committee. I intend to seek permission to consult members as to what response they want to see the union taking including a ballot for industrial action if the companies do not pull back on unilateral cuts.”