Unite is balloting workers at three of Total’s North Sea oil rigs for industrial action following the company’s refusal to reduce the number of unpaid working days. The Alwyn, Dunbar and Elgin-Franklin rigs are sited northeast of Aberdeen.
Before the oil crash of 2014, workers worked 2 weeks offshore (12 hour shifts each day) followed by 3 weeks at home. Workers agreed that, twice a year, they’d work 3 weeks offshore followed by 2 weeks at home – generating 14 additional working days with no extra pay – until the company finances improved.
In 2014 oil was $28 a barrel but has since risen to $78 a barrel. Total’s net profit rose by 28 per cent last year, but it is refusing to return to the previous practice.
Unite has attacked the French company’s intransigence as staggering. Action could involve an overtime ban or a series of 24-hour strikes.