Second trade union to announce result of North Sea oil industry strike ballot ‘tomorrow’

North Sea oil workers helmetsScottish Energy News EXCLUSIVE 

The GMB trade union is set to announce the result of its strike ballot among offshore workers in the North Sea over moves by oil contractors to cut wages and impose new shift rotas.

Sources close to the GMB have today told Scottish Energy News that a formal announcement could come either tomorrow (31 Jul) or Monday 3 August.

Trade union members in UNITE under the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) have already rejected proposals over changes to shift rotas and terms and conditions following a consultative ballot – increasing the likelihood of industrial action in the North Sea fossil-fuel energy industry.

On Wednesday, a total of 63.5% per cent of union members balloted voted against OCA’s offer to move to a three-on/three-off shift pattern, with a variable remuneration offer to mitigate the impact on terms and conditions caused by the changes to working-time arrangements.

Unite industrial officer Willie Wallace said: “We said previously that our members would have the final say and they are clear that the OCA offer isn’t good enough. 

Bill Murray, Chief Executive, Offshore Contractors’ Association, said: “We are extremely disappointed that the workforce <at UNITE> has chosen to ignore their trade union’s advice and reject our offer.

“We believe that we have acted as a fair negotiator throughout this process and that our offer balances the needs of workers with the requirements of business at this challenging time.

“While we have proposed a necessary wage freeze in the face of the urgent need to make efficiencies and 0% inflation across the UK, we have offered to address two long standing issues in these negotiations on sick pay and holiday pay.

“When combined with changes to work patterns, these mean that our offer is worth on average up to £7,000 per annum extra per individual. This can only be paid for through productivity increases if we are to avoid further redundancies.

“The International Monetary Fund has named the North Sea as the most expensive basin to do business in, and if we don’t take urgent action to manage costs and increase productivity we will begin to see investment move elsewhere.

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

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