Offshore oil workers go on strike in North Sea

Hundreds of oil workers employed by Wood Group on Shell’s platforms in the North Sea are participating in a strike action in a dispute over proposed cuts of up to 30 per cent on pay and allowances.

The strike action follows a ban on overtime working that started on Monday morning.

Over 400 members of RMT and Unite unions have gone on strike which is, according to Unite, the first of its kind in 28 years. The platforms involved include the Brent Alpha, Bravo and Charlie platforms, Gannet, Nelson, Shearwater and Curlew.

The workers from both unions downed their tools on 6.30 this morning and will be on strike for 24 hours with further stoppages planned over the coming weeks.

According to RMT, affected members have been given a clear instruction to stop work and “down tools” during and then return to work when the strike ends.

RMT is objecting a proposal by Wood Group to cut members’ pay which could amount to up to 22%, however once reductions to allowances are factored in, the cut could be as much as 30%.

Support for the workers, who are on strike for the first time in generation, has come from local politicians and fellow oil and gas workers from as far away as Mexico and the United States, as well as Norway and Germany, Unite said on Tuesday.

Protests were also being held today outside Wood Group’s Sir Ian Wood House in Aberdeen and at Shell UK’s office in Altens Farm Road, Aberdeen to demonstrate the strength of feeling of members.

John Boland, Unite regional officer said on Tuesday: “Wood Group bosses have so far failed to grasp the enormity of this action. This is the first strike in the North Sea in a generation. If that’s not telling Wood Group bosses how our members feel about the attack on their pay and allowances, then Wood Group bosses are deluding themselves.

“This strike is solid. Our members know it was Wood Group that led them to this point, but we remain willing and ready to resolve this dispute if they bring a fair and positive proposal to the table.”

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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