More than 200 Unite and RMT workers in the Wood Group working on Shell’s North Sea platforms have voted in favour of strike action over pay. The next course of action will now be decided between the two unions collectively.
Unite said members in Wood Group had voted “overwhelmingly” in support of taking industrial action. Unite said 99.1 per cent of those voting had backed strike action while 99.5 per cent had said yes to action short of a strike.
Unions had decided to ballot their members in May after initial talks regarding pay cuts of up to 30 per cent at eight of Shell’s North Sea platforms – Shearwater, Gannet, Nelson, Curlew, Brent Delta, Brent Alpha, Brent Bravo and Brent Charlie.
Unite regional officer John Boland said: “Wood Group could have avoided this escalation through meaningful negotiations, instead it has chosen to continue with this shameful attack on our members pay and working conditions.
“Wood Group needs to drop its refusal to properly negotiate to halt this dispute and take a step back from implementing the crippling cuts to our members pay, terms and conditions.
“Our members have worked with Wood Group to secure its future in what has been extremely challenging times for the sector. The least the company can do is to show a similar commitment to its workforce by dropping these savage cuts.”
The strike threat comes after months of tense negotiations between the Aberdeen-based services group and the unions, which led to a breakdown of mediation talks at ACAS.
Union representatives say that workers are frustrated at being paid less while being asked to work longer hours across more demanding shift patterns. They are also concerned that the workers’ safety could be under threat if they are driven to fatigue and important maintenance work suffers.
After two rounds of redundancy, the imposition of an additional 4 to 5 weeks of work annually, forced to work a three weeks on/three weeks off rota, the increase in workload and the restrictions on leave, this battered and bruised workforce are being told they have to accept all of this with a reduction in salary of anything from 10 to 30 per cent. The workers’ message is clear, “Enough is Enough.”
Shell, meanwhile, is seeking to engage scab labour through various agencies to cover any potential industrial action.