OCA Responds To Possible Offshore Strike Action

Published at 03:23PM - 24/08/15

The Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) has released a statement in response to the threat by the union Unite over a potential offshore strike.

The OCA, the UK’s association for offshore contracting companies, has hit back after a deal they jointly negotiated got turned down by the union Unite- the same deal that has been accepted by a rival union the GMB.

Earlier this month, the two rival unions went head to head after the results of ballots from either side’s members ended with polarised results, leading to an exchange of statements.

Previously, industrial officer for Unite, Willie Wallace, said: “The OCA offer isn’t good enough. North Sea employers must do more to address the deep concerns our members have over these shift pattern changes – from loss of earnings and livelihoods to the impact on workplace health and safety and quality of life.

The Issue With Oil

The trouble stems from UK offshore operators changing the shift rotations of workers in order to save money on mobilisation costs.  Its hoped the move will considerably slash the current high operational costs of many offshore installations.

Its been reported that the majority of the UK’s offshore assets require the price of oil to be around the US$70 a barrel mark to break even.

OCA Stance

Chief Executive of the Offshore Contractors Association, Bill Murray, said, “We believe our offer was fair given the present economic challenges and the need for industry to find efficiencies.

“At every juncture industry has sought to share responsibility for reaching a viable solution with the workforce. We proposed a pay freeze at a time when UK inflation sits at 0% and we offered a better deal on sick pay and holiday pay; a package worth up to £7,000 per annum extra per individual when taking into account rota changes.

“Strike action could cause significant, irreparable damage to the North Sea industry sending a clear signal to investors that the basin is a high risk investment and threatening future jobs. We encourage all Unite members who are eligible to vote to do so – with no turnout restrictions in industrial ballots it is important that all voices are heard.”

The union Unite, released their statement turning down the deal back on 29th July.  The union is yet to come out publicly as to their next move.