Unite warns: Offshore working standards rapidly deteriorating

UK’s biggest union, Unite, has on February 24, 2015 called for immediate UK and Scottish government interventions to halt a potentially disastrous ‘race to the bottom’ in working standards across the North Sea offshore industry.

The call comes after the publication of the Oil & Gas UK (OGUK) 2015 activity report which paints a bleak picture for the employment standards of tens of thousands of offshore workers as the industry body claimed ‘unsustainability’ over tax, regulation and cost issues.

Unite which is currently undertaking a consultative ballot of its members in the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) which will run until March 27, says the decisions taken by government over the next few weeks will be critical to the long-term future of the North Sea offshore industry.

Unite Scottish secretary, Pat Rafferty, said: “This morning we can see clearly the industry’s intention to redraw the offshore landscape for the next generation and it bodes poorly for jobs, pay, skills and a safe working environment.

“This is not the way to plan for the future of our most important economic sector and the UK and Scottish governments, both complicit with industry majors over a strategic failure to plan for a slump in oil price, must stop spectating and intervene immediately.

“We are hearing nothing about how incomes and livelihoods can be sustained, nothing about protecting and growing the skills base which is crucial to the industry’s future prosperity and nothing about strengthening offshore health and safety regulations.”

“Make no mistake, in a time of electioneering OGUK is spelling out its own manifesto which focuses solely on how employers – who have generated billions from the North Sea for decades – can maximise their profits with as much public subsidy as possible.”

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