North Sea Strike Threat Looms

Published at 09:42AM - 11/07/16

Shell could be facing a strike on its North Sea platforms if Wood Group does not come to resolve its pending staffing issues.

This follows the breakdown in talks between workers of the oil field services company ahead of a union ballot.

“The company has refused to move on any of the major issues and seems determined to force this issue into an industrial dispute,” Unite trade union regional officer John Boland said after the breakdown.

North Sea Strike Threat Looms

Now, Wood Group workers will have to vote to decide whether they will start the first wave of strikes in the region in a generation to take action over tough offshore scheduled and lower compensation.

Trade unions Unite and RMT are balloting 200 of approximately 450 oil workers operating Shell’s platforms in the Brent oil field and the decision on whether a strike will be initiated will happen this Wednesday.

The strike threat follows months of negotiations between Wood Group and the unions, which have led to a breakdown of mediation talks with the dispute resolution group Acas last Friday.

Wood Group Refutes Lack Of Cooperation

According to Boland, Unite is “bitterly disappointed” at Wood Group’s “unwillingness to meaningfully negotiate” and reach an agreement.

“We have repeatedly said that our members are not immune to the challenges facing the oil and gas industry, but Wood Group must work with us in order to meet them,” he added.

A Wood Group spokeswoman said the Group is “extremely disappointed” that it was unable to reach an agreement, refuting allegations of being “unwilling to meaningfully negotiate”.

“As part of our commitment to following a fair and transparent consultation, we have addressed every significant concern that our employees and the unions have expressed. At no point did this include a 30% pay cut,” she explained.

“We remain fully committed to continuing to engage with our employees and the unions going forward to meet our mutual goal of sustaining these jobs in the North Sea, now and in the future,” she added.