UK: Unite rejects 3 on 3 off rota. GMB urges talks to end dispute

Two of the UK’s largest offshore workers’ unions, GMB and Unite, have taken opposing stances as to the recent offer regarding rota changes made by the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA), a representative body for offshore contractors. 

Namely, GMB accepted the offer while Unite rejected it saying it was not good enough.

To remind, OCA made what was regarded as “an improved offer” to GMB and Unite members in June 2015.

The two unions had subsequently suspended their strike ballot plans in order to consider OCA’s revised offer and put it in a consultative ballot.

GMB, a general trade union in the United Kingdom with more than 631,000 members, Monday announced the outcome of the consultative ballot in the dispute with OCA saying that the offer has been accepted by its members.

David Hulse, GMB National Officer said, “GMB members have voted to accept the latest offer from the employers to end this dispute.

“We have conveyed the result to the OCA employers,” said Hulse.

Unite’s rejection

However, unlike GMB, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy, rejected the offer.

According to Unite, 63.5 per cent of members balloted voted against OCA’s offer to move to a three-on/three-off shift pattern, with a variable remuneration offer to mitigate the impact on terms and conditions caused by the changes to working-time arrangements.

Unite industrial officer Willie Wallace said: “We said previously that our members would have the final say and they are clear that the OCA offer isn’t good enough. 

North Sea employers must do more to address the deep concerns our members have over these shift pattern changes – from loss of earnings and livelihoods to the impact on workplace health and safety and quality of life. 

“We are not blind to the challenges facing the industry, indeed we are acutely aware it because the human cost of the downturn is clear in the deep cuts to our members’ incomes and livelihoods. 

“However, the lesson the industry has to take from this process is that it must consult and engage with our members in a far more meaningful manner and that any changes impacting lives and livelihoods should not be imposed.”

Unite’s rejection of the offer prompted GMB to urge its ally trade union and OCA to seek resolution.

Hulse said: “In view of the rejection of the offer by Unite members in a ballot vote, GMB is urging Unite and the employers to join with us to seek a resolution of the dispute.” 

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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