Unite workers accept Wood Group improved terms to end N. Sea oil pay dispute

A protest was held at Shell head office in London during the dispute.
A protest was held at Shell head office in London during the dispute.

Members of Scotland’s biggest offshore union have voted to end this summer’s industrial dispute that led to the first North Sea strike in nearly 30 years. 

In July, members of the Unite union working on Shell platforms across the North Sea started strike action after rejecting proposed cuts by their employer, the oil facilities company, Wood Group. 

The workers faced losing up to 30% in pay and allowances. 

A proposal to end the dispute was put to members on 12 September, and today (22 September) the union announced that this had been accepted by 105 votes to 82.

John Boland, Unite regional officer, said: “Our negotiations with Wood Group allowed us to reduce the levels of cuts being proposed to our members’ wages and terms and conditions. 

“We were able to secure improvements to competency payments and the introduction of a flexibility payment. Threats to life insurance, health care and sick pay have been removed.

“We have a commitment to greater work security for ad-hoc workers, and they now have greater opportunities to progress into permanent posts.

“As ever, our members have shown themselves willing to be open to meaningful negotiations and are not blind to the challenges facing the offshore sector in these difficult times – but they have also shown they will not be treated unfairly.

“I would like to pay tribute to all the stewards and members who stayed united, strong and determined during this dispute. They can be proud of the way they stood by each other in this difficult time.”

Paul Goodfellow, Shell Vice-President, UK & Ireland said: “We are pleased with this outocme and commend Wood Group, Unite and the RMT in reaching a resolution. We have been clear that change was essential to ensure that the UK North Sea remains competitive.

“This agreement is a positive step towards addressing the challenge of operating in a low oil price environment. Shell looks forward to working with Wood Group, Unite and the RMT to ensure that the North Sea has a strong and sustainable future.”

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