Strike Action To Hit North Sea Within Days

Published at 09:24AM - 19/07/16

Nearly 400 oil and gas workers operating in the North Sea for Wood Group are expected to initiate a 24-hour strike action next week.

The stoppage over pay cuts would be the first of its kind in almost thirty years.

“Our employees’ safety and welfare is our priority and although we are extremely disappointed that they have chosen to take industrial action, we respect their right to do so,” Wood Group said in a statement.

Wood Group Oil Workers Strike Hits North Sea

The decision follows a 99.1% and 98.5% vote in favour of strike action by Unite and RMT union members, respectively.

According to a statement by Unite, “the first 24-hour stoppage will take place on 26 July” and will be followed by “a series of other stoppages over the following weeks”.

The unions say the strike is expected to “severely disrupt” operations on seven Shell oil and gas platforms in the North Sea.

Unite regional officer John Boland, said: “Strike action by our members is not a decision they take lightly, but they have been pushed to the limit by an employer unwilling to rethink proposals to slash their pay and allowances”.

According to Boland, union members are feeling the strain of the “imposition of a three-week working cycle which means more time offshore and less time with their families, for the same salary”.

Wood Group Wants to Safeguard North Sea Jobs

The officer encouraged Wood Group to “negotiate seriously” with the unions, in order to reach a fair deal.

Wood Group, in its turn, stated: “We continue to engage proactively and openly with our employees and the unions with a focus on reaching a resolution. Safeguarding these jobs in the North Sea now and in the future has always been and remains our priority”.

Wood Group had announced in February that it was cutting pay rates to about a third of its contractor workforce, blaming “continuing cost and efficiency challenges” in the UK North Sea.