N. Sea oil trade unions to hold new strike ballots after pay talks break down

N. Sea oil workers protest against pay cuts in July 2016
N. Sea oil workers protest against pay cuts in July 2016

Offshore N. Sea oil workers in the GMB and Unite trade unions are to hold fresh ballots for strike action in a prolonged dispute with employers over pay and conditions.

Union members will vote in the coming weeks on whether to take industrial action after talks with the Aberdeen-based Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) broke down last night.

OCA chief executive Paul Atkinson said: “We are extremely disappointed that the trade unions appear unwilling to engage on the issues which are so important to their members. Our priority has always been to find ways of avoiding any disruption.

“Industrial action will only serve to make investment in the North Sea less attractive and jeopardise the long-term future of the industry.

“We remain firmly committed to doing all we can to find a lasting solution to this dispute.”

Unite said it would press ahead with preparations for official industrial action ballots, following the failure of talks which involved the conciliation service Acas.

Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell said: “Unite members gave a significant mandate to hold a ballot for strike action in this dispute with the OCA employers.

“Offshore workers are gearing up to campaign for a yes vote. It is time for all union members to stand up now, and fight back for better terms and conditions.”

David Hulse, GMB National Officer for Offshore Industry, added: “GMB and Unite met with the OCA member companies with ACAS in attendance.

“Progress was not made and both unions intend to go ahead with a ballot for industrial action.”

The move comes after union members voted last month rejected a pay offer from the employers.

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