Offshore workers to press ahead with N. Sea strike ballot

Oil worker training skills general photo ScotentNorth Sea offshore workers in the GMB and Unite trade unions are to go ahead with a ballot for strike action.

The decision was announced by union officials in Aberdeen after talks to resolve the dispute over changes to working terms between workers and the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) failed.

GMB and Unite officials held further talks on 20 May on the dispute over unilateral changes to working conditions for workers covered by the Offshore Contractors Agreement (OCA) in UK waters.

The dispute centres around proposals to change the common ‘two weeks onshore, two weeks offshore’ work patterns to a ‘3-on / 3-off’ rota – which would generate £millions in cost-savings for employer, for example by reducing the frequency of expensive helicopter flights and accommodation allowances.

David Hulse, GMB National Officer, said: “We did make some progress, but sadly not enough to enable us to go back to members with proposals to resolve this dispute.

“We remain available for talks should the employers want to pull back from going ahead with the unilateral changes to working practices that has provoked this dispute.”

“We will now have to proceed with organising an official ballot for industrial action as the members asked us to do in a consultative ballot earlier this year.

“We will concentrate now on making the necessary arrangements to enable us to go ahead with EBRS for independent ballot for action.”

* BP is to move its N. Sea offshore staff to a three weeks on, three weeks off rota pattern from January 2016 for the “long-term sustainability of the business”.



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