Keep the North Sea Super Puma free


n by  – 

 Unite regional officer Tommy Campbellcika314wkaapyvf

One of the great questions of 2017 for the trade union movement in Scotland has been “What is to become of the Super Puma 225 helicopter?” That question has been raised well beyond union circles because of Unite Scotland’s campaign against any return of the Puma to the North Sea for transferring workers from the heliports outside Aberdeen to the oil rigs. Our slogan of the year has become “No Comeback for the Super Puma. Keep the North Sea Puma Free.” So why the controversy about this aircraft?

Death is really the answer to that question. In April 2016, 13 people died after a Super Puma EC225 crashed west of the Norwegian city of Bergen. In effect operation of the Super Puma in the North Seas has been banned since then. The 2016 crash followed two crashes in 2012 in Scotland. Both crashes, which did not result in fatalities, were blamed on gear box problems. In 2009 all 14 passengers and two crew died when a Super Puma came down in the North Sea close to Peterhead. In total since the 2009 crash 33 families have lost loved ones who stepped aboard a Super Puma helicopter. Our members have made it absolutely clear that they have lost confidence in the helicopter. That confidence is not going to return – ever.

Even in-house surveys conducted by Airbus the manufacturers of the Super Puma back that up. In August 2017 Airbus published details of a workforce survey about the Super Puma. It revealed that 62% of those surveyed would not want to use the Super Puma. Ever. A further 15% said they would not be comfortable boarding one until more guarantees about safety changes had been delivered. So it is abundantly clear that even in Airbus surveys there is considerable opposition within the workforce about the Super Puma.

Unite has organised a petition opposing any return of the Super Puma and at the heliports workers have signed up in their thousands to show their opposition.  These figures, along with the Airbus Survey are significant about the feelings of those who have to get into a Super Puma to get to work.


To support the campaign sign Unites petition


Keep the North Sea Super Puma free


And despite the fact that the Super Puma has been given the all-clear by the UK civil aviation authorities there is also a growing recognition among the oil and gas companies that big questions still have to be answered. Unite’s Scottish Secretary, Pat Rafferty, has written to all the oil companies in the North Sea about the Puma. One of the biggest concerns Apache told him: “We have recently commenced a contract with a helicopter company to support our operations in the North Sea until 2022. Our contracted helicopters are Sikorsky S92 and Westland AW189.”

That type of stand is being matched by other major companies. ConocoPhillips say they also are using alternatives to the H225. BP, Shell and Compass are on record as saying until the findings of the causes of the Norwegian 2016 crash are known there can be no consideration of using the Super Puma.

This unanimity of opposition seems to have even shaken Airbus. An Airbus spokesperson was recently quoted as saying: There are still some challenges Airbus Helicopters needs to overcome before the H225 is used for passenger transport in the North Sea. However, we believe in the aircraft and have implemented a set of very stringent measures which, in addition to the H225’s capabilities, provide a very capable alternative for future offshore requirements. Ultimately it is down to customers to decide which aircraft will best meet their needs, however, recent events highlight the benefit of not relying on a single type of aircraft.”

So given the past and where we are at present would you travel across the North Sea to your work in a Super Puma? Or would you be happy about a loved one doing the same?

Tommy Campbell is a trade union official with Unite Scotland




to get involved in the campaign to keep the north sea  puma free  contact Unite offshore

  • Unite will be meeting  again with the Scottish Parliament  transport minister  Humza Yousaf MSP early in 2018
  • Unite are calling for a full public inquiry into North Sea helicopter safety
  • Unite will be looking  to meet the Scottish affairs select committee to rais  the  issues again on North sea  helicopter safety with the UK government
  • Unite will be meeting  and campaigning  alongside Norwegian and offshore trade unions in the UKCS  for the non-return of the Airbus Super Puma 225  to commercial operations


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Unite membership offshore continues to grow Unite is the largest trade union for offshore workers in the North Sea UKCS





Transport minister undecided on support for North Sea copters public inquiry


Written by  – 

Scottish transport minister Humza Yousafhumza-yousaf

Scotland’s transport minister is undecided on whether to support calls for an independent public inquiry into North Sea helicopter safety.

Humza Yousaf met a delegation of trade union representatives yesterday in Edinburgh to hear their fears about offshore transport safety.

Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell said the meeting was “helpful and informative” and that Mr Yousaf had listened to workers’ concerns.

Mr Campbell said both sides intended to meet again in the New Year to “follow up on some of the points made”.



He added: “We are quite satisfied that the helicopter safety is being taken seriously by the Scottish Government.”

North-east Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald said the dialogue was still open, but that the Scottish Government had not yet made its position known.

Mr Macdonald said: “The Scottish Government has not dismissed the possibility of a public inquiry, but they haven’t got behind it yet either.

“They are happy to continue the dialogue.”

Ultimately, a public inquiry would require the backing of the UK Government, but unions are hopeful that support from the Scottish Government would strengthen their case.

Mr Macdonald added: “We want to convince the Scottish Government that the best way forward is to have an independent public inquiry.

“Then it can be about the whole sector, not just technical issues.”

Mr Macdonald tabled a member’s business motion to bring the debate into the Scottish Parliament in October.

Several MSPs backed calls from unions for an inquiry at the cross-party debate in Holyrood.

Mr Yousaf said at the time he was prepared to meet those who want an inquiry.

But he clarified that the lifting of flight restrictions was a matter for aviation regulators, not the Scottish Government.

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “The health and safety of oil and gas workers in the North Sea is of paramount importance to the Scottish Government and the transport minister had an informative and constructive meeting with union representatives, where he heard their views directly on helicopter safety.

“Whilst the regulation of aviation safety is a reserved matter for the UK Government, it’s important all stakeholders work together to ensure the workforce have confidence that every effort is being made to keep them safe when travelling to and from offshore facilities.”

More to follow.


Unite Back Home Safe Campaign 2017 #KeeptheNorthSeaPumaFree @ The Scottish Parliament – Tuesday 19th December


North Sea unions to meet with Transport Minister Humza Yousaf – Scottish Parliament – Tuesday 19th December;

Unite Scotlands Tommy Campbell will be available for interview after the meeting with the minister at around 1530.

Lewis Macdonald MSP lodged a Members motion opposing the return of the Super Puma 225  helicopter to fly workers from the heliports in the North Sea to the oil rigs in the sector. The motion was heard on 24th October.

Unite lobbied the Parliament on the same day. Here is a link to a short video of that event.

The Transport Minister Humza Yousaf replied to the debate and invited the trade unions to make submissions to him on the reasons why the the North Sea must stay Puma free.

Those submissions will be made by the trade unions on Tuesday 19th December 2017. Unites regional co-ordinating officer Tommy Campbell will lead the delegation.He will be available for media interview on Tuesday 19th at 1530.

Tommy Campbell said: We are determined that the North Sea should remain Puma free.

The only way the workers there can stop the return of the Puma is to join Unite,

or one of the other trade unions in the industry. 

A strongly unionised workforce means that the oil companies will recognise that any comeback for the Super Puma means a battle. To be fair many of the major oil companies and contractors have already told us that they have no intention of contracting with companies which want to use the Super Puma.

We want to persuade the minister that he should support that. No Comeback for the Super Puma Keep the North Sea Puma Free



Tommy Campbell / 07810 157920

Bob Wylie / Unite Comms / 07711 751570


Unite is the offshore union for offshore workers in the North Sea UKCS

Have a voice, take action and make change happen.

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North Sea Grinch employer Odfjell Drilling – workers facing more than 10% pay cuts with Christmas around corner




Workers facing pay cut with Christmas around corner

Written by  – 

Scores of north-east workers at an offshore drilling contractor are facing deep pay cuts with Christmas just around the corner.

Unite regional officer Willie Wallace said Odfjell Drilling was issuing the proposals to workers today as part of a consultation.

Mr Wallace said 180 employees were affected by what he described as a “considerable reduction in terms and conditions”.


Odfjell, which has a base in Altens, Aberdeen, said in a letter

to employees – seen by Energy Voice − that the amendments to terms and conditions were necessary to “align with the current market environment”.

Odfjell said whilst it had recently secured new contracts, market conditions meant costs needed to be reduced for it to remain competitive as the oil price remains unstable.

In October, Odfjell said it had clinched a deal to perform drilling and maintenance work on EnQuest’s Magnus platform in the UK North Sea.

The company said in June that its Aberdeen business would recruit another 100 people after it won a contract with Taqa to provide services on five North Sea platforms.

In 2014, it secured a four-year contract extension to provide platform drilling services with BP in the UK North Sea, taking the contract renewal date to December 2018.

According to the letter from operations manager Donald MacLeod, dated November 29, Odfjell wants bring all offshore employees’ terms and conditions in line with a set of standards which have been in place for new starts for about seven months.

A worker told Energy Voice the proposals involved the complete removal of health care and travel money, a 50% drop in sick pay and, in some cases, a 10% basic wage cut.

Mr Wallace said the basic wage cut would be “different for different people”.

He said the changes would be badly received by the workforce and were “unnecessary at this time”.

He added: “The workforce played its part previously in changing rotas and working extra shifts for no extra payment and are now saying, ‘enough is enough’.

“Unite awaits feedback from its members before meeting Odfjell again next week.”

Odfjell has been contacted for comment.


If you work for Odjfell and your not happy about the cuts it time to Join Unite and fight the cuts to your T&Cs – experienced workers does that equal pay cut?

What can you do?

What will you do?

Get active!  get organised! Join Unite  the Offshore  trade union

Next steps

  1.  If you are not already a member’s Join Unite
  2. Elect  new Unite Union reps
  3. Put in place Unite points of contact on each odjfell offshore asset  covering all and shifts rotas
  4. Join Unite and fight the cuts to your terms & Conditions

The wood group offshore unite members on shell assets were in a similar position as you in 2016   – What did they do?  to see what they did    they made history  the first offshore strike in  a generation by  growing their  union Unite, electing  union reps on all  shell assets and standing together  and fighting back against attacks against their Terms and Conditions of employment in their contracts

Click on the link: from 4 mins  30 sec



Unite is the offshore union for offshore workers in the North Sea UKCS

Have a voice, take action and make change happen.

Join the union today!






Inquiry after lifeboat fell from Brent Alpha platform

Inquiry after lifeboat fell from Brent Alpha platform

Brent Alpha platform
Image captionThe lifeboat fell from the Brent Alpha platform

Oil company Shell has said it is investigating after a lifeboat fell from a North Sea platform during maintenance.

The handbrake slipped on the boat’s launch mechanism on the Brent Alpha on Saturday morning.

No-one was injured and the lifeboat was recovered from the sea on Sunday morning.

Brent Alpha, which is currently being decommissioned, lies 115 miles east of Shetland.

Oil company Shell has said it is investigating after a lifeboat fell from a North Sea platform during maintenance


Offshore Health & Safety is no accident


Can you afford not to  

Unite is the largest trade union  for offshore workers in the North Sea UKCS

Have a voice, take action and make change happen.

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Keep the North Sea  –  Puma Free Campaign- Unite to meet The Scottish Transport Minister – Humza Yousaf MSP

Unite the Union  delegation of offshore reps and regional officers  will  meet with  Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister for Transport and the Islands as  part of the ongoing campaign to keep the North Sea Puma Free
                                                                Humza Yousaf  MSP
The delegation will meet 19th December at 2.30pm until 3.15pm in the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.
 Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary, and sister offshore unions will also be in attendance to convey the message from Union members working offshore to the transport minister – Airbus  – Oil and Gas Uk and all operators and contractors – the Offshore workforce have lost all confidence in the 225 Super Puma Chopper and there should be no return of this  chopper on commercial operations
Unite has written to Offshore oil companies and contractors  – not one has said they intend to use super pumas to transport their workers offshore.- Norwegian oil company Statoil has publicly stated that they will not use the 225s again.
If you are a Unite member and you  would like to attend  please contact
the Unite Aberdeen Office on 01224 645 271  or contact your Unite the Union rep or branch secretary.
Unite offshore  contact –

If you are not yet a member of Unite and you work offshore   can you afford not to join

Unite is the largest trade union for offshore workers in the North Sea UKCS

Have a voice, take action and make change happen. Join the union


Keep the North Sea Puma Free


Offshore Unions say the manufacturer of the super puma 225 helicopters Airbus, haven’t convinced them that they are safe enough to return to service

” UK and Norwegian trade union officials and reps that they are safe enough to return to service in the North Sea”.

UK and Norwegian offshore trade unions have returned from a visit from Airbus headquarters in France warning Airbus that union members do not want to fly in the 225sand the offshore workforce has no confidence in this helicopter.

Click on the link to the STV news report Friday  10 November


Join the campaign to keep the North Sea Puma Free


If you are not already a member of a trade union offshore can you afford not to join?

Get Protected! Get Active! Get Organised!

Unite is the largest trade union  for offshore workers in the North Sea UKCS

Have a voice, take action and make change happen.

join the union today!