Offshore workers vote for industrial action

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Unite the Union has confirmed that most of its members covered by the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) agreement have voted for industrial action.

The union said that about 1,000 offshore workers backed action in the vote on a row over pay.

The ballots followed the rejection of the OCA pay offer in July.

The OCA said that before the ballot results it had arranged to meet the relevant trade unions next Tuesday in an attempt to reach an agreement.

Many of the Unite members also oppose the introduction of new rotas, which could see more employees working for three weeks offshore.

'Clear message'

Pat Rafferty, Unite Scottish secretary, said the vote sent a "clear message".

"We have suffered too much for too long through sweeping cuts to jobs and pay alongside the growing introduction of 3/3 shift rotas," he added.

"We hope the result encourages the industry to revisit their paltry offer or it will face widespread industrial action".

Results from a GMB ballot are expected on Monday afternoon. Members of the RMT previously voted to accept the deal.

Paul Atkinson, chief executive of the OCA said: "Our shared priority is to reach a fair and reasonable settlement.

"We arranged to get together for talks with union officials before any ballot results were known.

"I know that we all share a commitment to resolve this dispute as quickly as possible and that remains our absolute priority".

Dr Alix Thom, Oil & Gas UK's workforce engagement and skills manager, said: "Our industry has worked hard to improve its competitiveness since the downturn and stability is an important factor in attracting much needed investment in the basin.

"Therefore we very much welcome the fact that talks will take place next week and support all parties in working towards an agreement."

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