UK union calls for talks to avoid further strike in North Sea

UK’s trade union Unite has called for urgent talks with energy company Wood Group to avert further strike action in the North Sea after new strike dates had been set. 

To remind, Wood Group’s workers on Shell’s North Sea assets participated in two strike actions in a dispute over proposed cuts of up to 30 percent on pay and allowances.

Over 400 members of RMT and Unite unions went on strike in July which was 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 carry out maintenance and repair on these platforms.

As talks over pay cuts between the unions and management failed after the first strike action, Wood Group’s offshore workers on seven Shell’s North Sea platforms kicked off a second, this time 48-hour long, strike last Thursday,  August 4.

The union on Monday, August 8 confirmed dates for further strike action by members employed by Wood Group, starting on Monday, August 15.

Namely, Unite and the RMT trade unions have announced that members working for Wood Group on Shell’s Curlew platform will take part in 24-hour stoppages on 15, 22 and 29 August 2016.

Members on Brent Alpha and Brent Bravo will take part in 24-hour stoppages on 16, 23 and 30 August 2016.

Further, members on the Nelson, Gannet and Shearwater platforms will take part in 24-hour stoppages on 17, 24 and 31 August 2016.

Finally, members on the Brent Charlie platform will take 6-hour stoppages starting at 06:30 hours and 18:30 hours on 16, 20, 23, 27 and 30 August 2016 and 3 September 2016.

Unite regional officer John Boland said: “Last week Wood Group refused to take these proposed cuts off the table in order to allow proper negotiations. Now we have been told that the company is not willing to have talks until next week at the earliest. We find that astonishing.

“The company needs to start taking this dispute seriously. No-one takes industrial action lightly, but our members are staying united in the face of this unwarranted attack on their pay and conditions. These further strike dates show their determination.

“We know the North Sea oil and gas industry is facing challenges, but companies have to realize that they can’t prop up their profits or create a sustainable industry by attacking their workers.”

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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