Unions suspend N. Sea strikes after Wood Group offers talks in pay-cut dispute

RMT members protesting at Shell's head office in London.
RMT members protesting at Shell’s head office in London earlier this month.

Further strikes planned to start next week by N. Sea oil workers  in the Unite and RMT trade unions have been called off after their employer agreed to re-start negotiations.

More than 300 workers employed at the Wood Group have held both 24hr and 48hr strikes this month and last month on a number of Shell platforms in protest at the company’s proposed pay-cuts of up to 30%.

Hundreds of offshore workers had been due to take action on the Curlew, Brent Alpha, Brent Bravo, Brent Charlie, Nelson, Gannet, Shearwater platforms on Monday – to which Wood Group is contracted to supply offshore services.

The Wood Group – which had earlier described the planned escalation of industrial action as “unhelpful” – said this evening that it would ‘stop implementation’ of its proposed pay cuts to workers in the RMT and Unite trade unions.

A spokesman added: “Given the intense discussions which will take place with trade union representatives over the next few weeks, no further comment will be made while these are ongoing.”

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT, said: “Following further discussions with the company I am pleased to announce that Wood Group have agreed to stop the implementation of the current proposals to allow fresh engagement and talks.

“As a result of this welcome development the <RMT> National Executive Committee has decided to suspend all industrial action in this dispute to allow these discussions to take place. Therefore members must work normally.

“Talks will begin next week which we hope will bring about a satisfactory resolution to this dispute.”

A Shell spokesman commented: “We welcome this development and encourage Wood Group’s employees and management to continue their discussions in an effort to reach agreement.”

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