Scotland business

North Sea workers to vote on industrial action over jobs and pay

Total's north sea oil rig Image copyright AFP

North Sea workers are to vote on industrial action over jobs, pay and shifts.

The Unite and GMB unions said their members had shown strong support for holding a ballot.

Several oil and gas firms operating in the North Sea have announced plans to axe jobs and reduce salaries, following a sustained fall in the price of oil.

The two unions had said previously that talks with the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) had failed.

The Offshore Contractors Agreement covers workers in mechanical, electrical and allied services, construction, maintenance, design, project engineering, fabrication and decommissioning.

Unite Scottish Secretary Pat Rafferty said: "This massive support for industrial action should come as no surprise to offshore employers.

"It's not too late to talk but the ball is in the employers' court."

'Jeopardise future'

GMB National Officer Dave Hulse said "Members have voted overwhelming for the go-ahead for an official ballot over the proposals from clients and contractors to change terms and conditions of employment.

"The vote quite clearly demonstrates the anger and frustration of our members employed in the offshore industry."

Bill Murray, chief executive of the Offshore Contractors Association, said: "The decision by trade union officials to go to industrial ballot over changes to shift and holiday patterns is disappointing.

"The need to make efficiencies and increase productivity in order to prevent further redundancies and prolong the life of the North Sea is well understood by the industry following a period of unsustainable cost inflation.

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

"We remain committed to working closely with union representatives and our members to find a solution."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites