Offshore Workforce Concerns Regarding Helicopter Safety in the North Sea

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Motion S5M-07724: Lewis Macdonald, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/09/2017
That the Parliament understands that the Civil Aviation Authority has lifted the ban on the use of Superpuma H225LP and AS332L2 helicopters in the UK despite continuing concerns over the safety of these helicopters among offshore workers; further understands that Airbus, the manufacturer of Superpuma helicopters, has carried out a survey of North Sea workers and aircrew in order to establish their attitudes towards helicopter safety; notes the finding that 62% of respondents would be unlikely to fly in a Superpuma helicopter, given a choice; further notes that 44% of respondents were unaware of work done to improve safety since the Superpuma crash in April 2016, including increased monitoring and inspection measures and more regular replacement of gearbox components;recognises that Unite the Union has launched a petition opposing the reintroduction of the Superpuma helicopters, signed by thousands of offshore workers in the North East Scotland parliamentary region and across the country, who remain concerned about their safety and reputation, and notes calls for flights in these Superpuma helicopters to not resume.

 

Supported by: Iain Gray, Mark Griffin, Tavish Scott, Colin Beattie, Maree Todd, Fulton MacGregor, Elaine Smith, Rhoda Grant, Neil Findlay, Graeme Dey, Daniel Johnson, Mairi Gougeon

Current Status: Achieved Cross Party Support

Next Steps

Contact your MSP ask them to support the motion and sign the Unite petition on the Non-re-introduction of the Airbus Super Puma 225s in the UKCS

 

The Link to the Survey Monkey Petition:

 

For more information on the campaign

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MSP calls for debate on offshore helicopter safety

Lewis Macdonald MSP

Standing up for Aberdeen and the North East

MSP calls for debate on helicopter safety

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North East Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald has tabled a parliamentary motion calling for a debate on helicopter safety in the North Sea.

After tabling a Members’ Business motion at Holyrood, Lewis Macdonald said:

 Lewis

“Safety must always be a priority for the North Sea oil and gas industry – regardless of any other issues it is currently facing.

“A recent survey by Airbus, the makers of Superpuma helicopters, found that over 60% of offshore workers would be reluctant to fly on a Superpuma helicopter, while over 40% were unaware of the new safety measures introduced by the manufacturers.

“Meanwhile, thousands of offshore workers have signed a Unite the Union petition calling on the UK oil and gas industry not to re-introduce Superpuma helicopters in the North Sea.

“When so many workers are coming together to highlight safety concerns, it is vital that we as MSPs listen to what they have to say.

“That is why I will be seeking a Members’ Business debate on the issue in the Scottish Parliament before there is any move to bring Superpuma helicopters back into service in the North Sea.”

ENDS.

For more information contact Lewis Macdonald on 01224 646333 or 07770646792

Notes to editors:

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Members’ Business motion tabled by Lewis Macdonald MSP below:

Motion Number: S5M-07724
Lodged By: Lewis Macdonald
Date Lodged: 15/09/2017

To be considered for Members’ Business
Title: ♦ Workforce Concerns Regarding Helicopter Safety in the North Sea

Motion Text:

That the  Scottish Parliament understands that the Civil Aviation Authority has lifted the ban on the use of Superpuma H225LP and AS332L2 helicopters in the UK despite continuing concerns over the safety of these helicopters among offshore workers; further understands that Airbus, the manufacturer of Superpuma helicopters, has carried out a survey of North Sea workers and aircrew in order to establish their attitudes towards helicopter safety; notes the finding that 62% of respondents would be unlikely to fly in a Superpuma helicopter, given a choice; further notes that 44% of respondents were unaware of work done to improve safety since the Superpuma crash in April 2016, including increased monitoring and inspection measures and more regular replacement of gearbox components; recognises that Unite the Union has launched a petition opposing the reintroduction of the Superpuma helicopters, signed by thousands of offshore workers in the North East Scotland parliamentary region and across the country, who remain concerned about their safety and reputation, and notes calls for flights in these Superpuma helicopters to not resume.

 


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Here’s how you can help – write to your MSPs! http://www.parliament.scot/msps/current-msps.aspx
1. Click here to go to the Write to Them website!
2. Once you’re on the Write to Them website, enter your postcode and click ‘Go’.
3. On the next page – click ‘Write to all your Regional MSPs’ on the right-hand side of the page.
4. Ask your MSPs to support the motion
5. sign the petition send them the link : https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/FW6Y8KG
6. Also you can write to your MP; http://www.unitetheunion.org/campaigning/contact-your-mp/

If you work offshore, tell them about why you and your colleague’s friends and family have no -confidence in the Airbus 225s choppers and any problems or difficulties that you’re experiencing in the industry. Tell them that the industry needs their support to stop the return of the super pumas. Use your own words – but keep it short.
7. Fill in your contact details and then click ‘Preview and Send’ at the bottom.

Thank you!

 


 

 

Offshore workers accept latest OCA pay offer

 by  – 

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Offshore workers have accepted a revised contract offer, bringing down the curtain on a prolonged dispute over pay and conditions which almost led to a strike.

Workers were voting on a third pay offer from the Offshore Contractors’ Association (OCA), which represents nine employers.

They turned down a 2% pay rise earlier this year, having already rejected an offer at the end of 2016.

Trade unions had been holding out for better terms, including a wage increase, along with improved sick pay and paid travel time.

Unions then held a series of industrial action ballots, but there was not enough support for a strike.

They said a majority of workers had backed a walkout, but legal requirements for staging a strike were not satisfied in most cases.

At least 50% of eligible members must vote in favour of industrial action for a strike to go ahead.

The OCA subsequently proposed a 2% pay increase and a £450 lump sum for certain employees.

Last month, the Unite, RMT and GMB trade unions recommended that their members accept the revised offer.

Workers voted in favour of the latest offer, but only by a “narrow margin”.

The OCA, whose members include Amec Foster Wheeler, Petrofac and Wood Group PSN, welcomed the decision to vote in favour of the new deal.

OCA chief executive Paul Atkinson said: “We are really pleased that members of all three trade unions have chosen to endorse our proposal in a consultative ballot.

“We have worked extremely hard with union officials to reach a shared settlement that we all believe to be in the best interests of everyone involved.

“OCA member companies will now start work on implementing the revised pay package.”

Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell said: “The three unions’ members have reluctantly accepted the offer by a narrow margin.

“The current trade dispute has been brought to an end as a result of these ballots.”

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

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Offshore helicopter reintroduction petition launched by Unite union

Offshore helicopter reintroduction petition launched by Unite union

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-4094714

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A union petition calling on offshore operators not to reintroduce Super Puma 225 and L2 helicopters back into service has been launched.

It follows a UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) decision to lift the ban on the aircraft if operators met certain safety conditions.

They were grounded following a fatal crash off Norway in 2016.

Unite the union, regional officer, Tommy Campbell said: “Our members are telling us that they have no confidence in the safety of these airframes and neither do their families. Offshore workers deserve to return back home safe to loved ones from working in the North Sea.

Unite Back Home Safe 2017 petition calls for a vote of ‘no-confidence’ in Super Puma Chopper

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The crash in April last year killed 13 people, including Iain Stewart from Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire.

The CAA criteria announced in July included:

  • Change in the design by removal of the components that were susceptible to premature deterioration
  • Earlier replacement of component
  • Design change to introduce an improved maintenance inspection method to detect any deterioration at an early stage
  • More frequent inspections
  • Reduction in the thresholds for rejecting components based upon early signs of any deterioration

The Super Puma 225 came down near the island of Turoey, near Bergen, while it was returning from an oil field.

A report in April into the crash said there was no explanation as to why a detection system did not spot signs of damage to the gearbox.

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The rotors detached from the helicopter

 


Offshore Health & Safety is no accident support Unites Back Home Safe campaign 2017 and sign the petition and share with your friends and family raise helicopter safety with your MP or MSP  and get involved in the campaign.

if you are not already a member of Unite

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 Unite, the offshore union today!

http://www.unitetheunion.org/growing-our-union/joinunite/

 

 

 

Unite Scotland says that the union ballot shows overwhelming support for Strike action by Unite members grades A-E employed by Aramark, Compass and Trinity working in the North Sea

1-8baff64187OFFICIAL DISPUTE

 

http://cotapayballot2017.weebly.com/

Unite Media Release – 23rd August – for Immediate Use

COTA Ballot for industrial action

For all outlets, correspondents and reporters

TOP LINE

Offshore catering workers on brink of industrial action if employers don’t offer a wage deal. Unite Scotland says that the union ballot shows overwhelming support for action on rigs controlled by Aramark, Compass and Trinity.

The result of a Unite Scotland ballot of union members in catering in the North Sea has delivered a massive 80% in favour of some form of industrial action including strike action.

The employers – the Catering Offshore Traders Association (COTA) – are insisting on forcing a second year standstill wage freeze in the sector.

Vic Fraser, Regional Organiser for Unite Scotland said: “Offshore catering workers in these three massive companies have spoken. They’ve said ‘Enough is enough – a further year’s freeze on wages is not on’. It’s time the employers came back to the negotiating table instead of issuing ultimatums.”

COTA have announced that they intend to impose a wage freeze for 2016/17 in spite of the union ballot result. Other workers in other sectors have been offered wage rises.

Vic Fraser added: “ This flies in the face of any sensible industrial relations. Workers in other sectors of the oil industry offshore are being offered increases on basic rates so why can’t the COTA employers offer the same to the catering workers. Unite Scotland want to avoid industrial action by negotiating a reasonable deal. So who is it that is being unreasonable here? It isn’t the union.”

Media Release from Bob Wylie Media Unite Scotland 07711751570

Further comment Vic Fraser Unite Regional Officer m 07718 667245 / 01224 645271.

Ends


protest COMPASS

Updated: North Sea caterers on ‘brink’ of industrial action over pay dispute, unions claim

Written by  – 23/08/2017 1:47 pm

Members of the Unite Union protesting against North Sea catering employers in October 2015.

Offshore catering workers are on the brink of industrial action if North Sea employers do not offer a wage deal, according to trade union Unite.

Worforce representatives say that the union ballot shows “overwhelming support” for action on rigs controlled by employers Aramark, Compass and Trinity.

The ballot showed 80% of members working in the offshore catering industry are in favour of some form of industrial action including strike action.

The employers – the Catering Offshore Traders Association (COTA) – are insisting on forcing a second year standstill wage freeze in the sector.

Vic Fraser, regional organiser for Unite Scotland said: “Offshore catering workers in these three massive companies have spoken. They’ve said ‘Enough is enough – a further year’s freeze on wages is not on’. It’s time the employers came back to the negotiating table instead of issuing ultimatums.”

Unite say COTA has announced the intention to impose a wage freeze for 2016/17 in spite of the union ballot result.

The union added that other workers in other sectors have been offered wage rises.

Mr Fraser added: “This flies in the face of any sensible industrial relations.

“Workers in other sectors of the oil industry offshore are being offered increases on basic rates so why can’t the COTA employers offer the same to the catering workers.

“Unite Scotland want to avoid industrial action by negotiating a reasonable deal. So who is it that is being unreasonable here? It isn’t the union.”

A spokesman for COTA said the organisation was “disappointed” that members of Unite have voted in favour of industrial action.

The spokesman also pointed out that in some COTA member companies, less than 50% of those eligible to vote supported the decision – the legal requirement for action.

He added: “Our objective is to protect COTA employees’ jobs. Throughout the 2016-17 negotiations COTA has maintained open, honest and realistic discussions with the unions and negotiating committee around what the pay deal should be in order to adapt to our changing industry.

“We want to start negotiating next year’s settlement as soon as possible.”


 

Offshore Catering

If you are employed by an offshore COTA  company and not yet a member of the trade Union Join today!

If you are an employee with Aramark, Compass and Trinity, grades A-E  working offshore  join Unite the union Now!  and fight to protect your pay and terms and conditions

 

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!

http://www.unitetheunion.org/growing-our-union/joinunite/

Norway fatal crash helicopter type cleared to fly

Super Puma 225 helicopters, which were grounded after a fatal crash in Norway, are to fly over the North Sea again.
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The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Norwegian authorities have allowed flights to resume if operators meet new safety conditions.
A crash involving the helicopter off the coast of Norway killed 13 people, including Iain Stewart from Aberdeenshire, in April 2016.

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The Unite Union has expressed concern about the decision.
CAA head of airworthiness John McColl said: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly. It has only been made after receiving extensive information from the Norwegian accident investigators and being satisfied with the subsequent changes introduced by Airbus Helicopters through detailed assessment and analysis.
“The safety of those who travel on offshore helicopter flights is a key priority for both the UK and Norwegian aviation authorities.
“We would not have made this decision unless we were convinced that the changes to the helicopters and their maintenance restore the required airworthiness standards.”
The CAA said that helicopters would not begin flying immediately. A plan of checks, modifications and inspections will be undertaken before any flights take place.
These include:

  • Change in the design by removal of the components that were susceptible to premature deterioration
  • Earlier replacement of component
  • Design change to introduce an improved maintenance inspection method to detect any deterioration at an early stage
  • More frequent inspections
  • Reduction in the thresholds for rejecting components based upon early signs of any deterioration

Mr McColl added: “We continue to work with the helicopter operators, the offshore industries, international regulators, unions and pilot representatives to enhance offshore safety standards still further and all these parties are actively involved in ongoing discussions.”
The Unite Union has expressed concern at the decision, saying its members were “very nervous” about flying in the helicopter.

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The union’s regional organiser in Aberdeen, Tommy Campbell, said Unite was still waiting to see a full analysis of the April 2016 accident and its causes.
“The offshore work force have been surveyed, they’ve been surveyed by the unions, they’ve been surveyed by magazines in the industry and there is a lack of confidence,” he told the BBC.
“There’s a significant issue and it’s very understandable. Offshore workers – or any workers – want to go to their work and come back home safely and there’s been far, far too many deaths now as a result of helicopter accidents.”

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Les Linklater, executive director of the offshore industry safety group, Step Change in Safety, said: “At this time, there is an ongoing Airbus survey for pilots and passengers regarding these specific helicopters’ flight safety and comfort, which was issued just one week ago. It’s our understanding that this survey still has a further three weeks to run.
“Given the importance of the workforce’s opinion regarding this highly emotive subject, we do not feel it’s appropriate to make any further comment until Airbus has gathered, and shared, the survey’s results and can demonstrate how they intend to address any concerns raised by the workforce.
“We would encourage all members of the workforce to participate and have their voices heard.”
BBC NEWS

July 9th, 2017
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Unite raises serious safety concerns after ban on Airbus Superpuma is lifted

 

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Scotland’s biggest union, Unite, has set up a petition to stop all commercial flights of the Superpuma H225LP and AS332 L2 helicopters in order to provide reassurance to offshore workers that their safety is paramount. This comes after the CAA announced plans to lift the ban last month.

Unite and other offshore unions continue to demand the highest possible safety regulations and training when it comes to helicopter journeys involving offshore workers and this decision jeopardises this.

Unite regional officer, Tommy Campbell said: “Our members are telling us that they have no confidence in the safety of these airframes and neither do their families. Offshore workers deserve to return back home safe to loved ones from working in the North Sea.

“We need not only the usual assurances from the Oil and Gas UK operators, we need them to demonstrate that safety comes first and that they will not support the reintroduction of the Superpuma H225LP and AS332 L2 helicopters.

“Until a full investigation is complete and the results are known there should be no ‘Business as Usual’ return to commercial operations in the UKCS involving these airframes.”

Transporting offshore workers to and from oil and gas installations should be a safe and routine practice. However, Unite is claiming that a significant number of offshore workers and union members have expressed the view that the root cause of the gearbox problem that caused the crash in April 2016 remains unknown and as long as it does they demand the airframes should remain grounded.

Unite will continue to work with all stakeholders in the UKCS  who have a responsibility for health and safety in the Oil and Gas sector to ensure the highest safety standards are upheld and that commercial pressure and profit will not come before workers’ safety.

 

For further information contact: Tommy Campbell 07810157920

Sign the petition and shareshare on faceboook twitter

 

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