RMT and Unite to hold more N. Sea strikes over proposed Wood Group pay cuts

General Secretary Mick Cash and National Secretary Steve Todd were among RMT Executive Members and other protesters at Shell’s head office in London last week in support of Wood Group strikers fighting 30% pay cuts on Shell platforms
General Secretary Mick Cash and National Secretary Steve Todd were among RMT Executive Members and other protesters at Shell’s head office in London last week in support of Wood Group strikers fighting 30% pay cuts on Shell platforms

The RMT and Unite trade unions have called for urgent talks with energy company Wood Group in order to avert further strike action planned in the North Sea next week.

The workers carry out maintenance and repair on platforms owned by Shell. They are facing cuts in pay and allowances of up to 30%.

The unions have announced that some 300 members working for Wood Group on Shell’s Curlew platform will take part in 24-hour stoppages on 15, 22 and 29 August 2016. Additional stoppages are planned as follows:

  • Members on Shell’s Brent Alpha and Brent Bravo will take part in 24-hour stoppages on 16, 23 and 30 August 2016.
  • Members on the Nelson, Gannet and Shearwater platforms will take part in 24-hour stoppages on 17, 24 and 31 August 2016.
  • Members on the Brent Charlie platform will take six-hour stoppages commencing 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 explained: “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 realise that they can’t prop up their profits or create a sustainable industry by attacking their workers.”

Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary said; “After savage redundancies and attacks on workload and working conditions, this group of offshore workers have been told that they are going to be railroaded into accepting pay cuts of up to 30%. They have chosen not to bend the knee, they have chosen to stand up and fight. 

“We are also well aware that the Wood Group Chief Executive has had a pay increase of 28% to bring him up to £600,000 a year. It is obscene that while the top bosses are lining their own pockets they are kicking the workforce from pillar to post.

“The unions welcome the fantastic support that has been pouring in from around the world for this important dispute. The unions remain available for serious and meaningful talks.”

A spokesman for Shell said last night: “We are disappointed to learn of the decision by Unite and the RMT to embark upon further industrial action.

“The UK oil and gas industry faces unprecedented challenges in light of the lower oil price environment.  

“Structural change is essential if the North Sea is to remain competitive.  We would encourage Wood Group management and employees to continue with their discussions so that a resolution to this action may be found.”

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