Unite members say ‘Yes’ to Wood Group proposal

Members of Scotland’s biggest offshore union, Unite, have voted to end their dispute with oil services company, Wood Group, that led to the first North Sea strike in a generation. 

As a reminder, Offshore Energy Today reported back in July that over 400 members of RMT and Unite unions went on a 24-hour strike against Wood Group’s proposed pay cuts; the strike was the first of its kind in 28 years.

Wood Group employees working on Shell’s Brent Alpha, Bravo and Charlie platforms, Gannet, Nelson, Shearwater and Curlew started the strike action after rejecting proposed 30% cuts in pay and allowances.

A second strike ensued, a 48-hour stoppage this time, after talks failed to come up with any solutions over pay reductions, proposed cuts and changes to working conditions on Shell’s North Sea oil and gas platforms.

Further industrial action, scheduled for August 12, was postponed after the sides agreed to allow space for further negotiations. As a result, a proposal to end the dispute was agreed between the unions and Wood Group on September 6.

Unite said on Thursday that the proposal negotiated with Wood Group was accepted with 105 votes to 82. The union also said that the proposal was put before its members last Monday, September 12.

Unite regional officer John Boland said: “Our negotiations with Wood Group allowed us to reduce the levels of cuts being proposed to our members’ wages and terms and conditions.

“We were able to secure improvements to competency payments and the introduction of a flexibility payment. Threats to life insurance, health care, and sick pay have been removed.

“We have a commitment to greater work security for ad-hoc workers, and they now have greater opportunities to progress into permanent posts.

“As ever, our members have shown themselves willing to be open to meaningful negotiations and are not blind to the challenges facing the offshore sector in these difficult times – but they have also shown they will not be treated unfairly.

“I would like to pay tribute to all the stewards and members who stayed united, strong and determined during this dispute. They can be proud of the way they stood by each other in this difficult time.”

Offshore Energy Today reached out to Wood Group, seeking comment. The company did not reply.

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