RMT union to ballot offshore workers over industrial action

industrial dispute graphicBy DARA BUTTERFIELD

One of the largest offshore unions, RMT, which represents about 5,000 workers is to ballot offshore members over industrial action.

The union has called recent activity by the offshore industry as an ‘attack on jobs’ and has raised several issues including staffing levels, shift patterns and pay.

Mick Cash, General Secretary, RMT, said: “The attack on jobs and working conditions in Britain’s offshore industry is as sharp now as it was at the bottom of the oil price slump and RMT believes that Oil & Gas UK companies are exploiting the situation to launch an unprecedented assault on the workforce.

“The preparations for sequential ballots are in hand and RMT will work with sister unions in the coming months to stave off this attempt to hammer down on the workforce across the offshore industry.”

The union has launched complaints about reductions in sick pay, pensions, travel allowances, stand-by payments and actual pay levels; alterations to leave entitlements; and reductions of up to 20% in actual staffing numbers. They are also protesting the replacement of current 2:3 and 2:2 shift patterns them with a 3:3 pattern which is being looked at by several firms as way of saving up to 15% on costs by reducing helicopter flights.

The union has also said that the timing of ballots and any subsequent industrial action will be determined to have the maximum effect on operations and that RMT will look to work closely with the other offshore unions when staging any industrial action that may be considered necessary.

GMB Scotland, another union representing North Sea workers, has already announced it will conduct a consultative ballot over the coming weeks – where workers will be asked if they want to vote on strike action.

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