Unite members on the Culzean project vote in a consultative ballot for strike action

In a consultative ballot that closed at 12 noon today (Friday 12th October), Unite members employed by Bilfinger, Semco, and Wood have overwhelmingly voted for an industrial action ballot, to secure a bonus on the Total Culzean project.

100% of members on a 81% return have indicated that they are willing to take industrial action. Total believe they can just impose something, and it will be accepted. This result shows they are wrong.

Our members on the Culzean project have shown in this ballot, that they want a fair and substantial bonus. Total and the three contractors, Bilfinger, Semco and Wood, need to come to the table and negotiate a bonus that will be acceptable to our members or risk industrial action.

 

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Mental health link with offshore rotas shouldn’t be overstated, says employment expert

The oil and gas sector shouldn’t be quick to draw a link between mental health issues and offshore rotas, an industry employment expert has said.

Alix Thom, skills and employment issues manager at industry body Oil and Gas UK (OGUK), said three-week, equal time rotas had been around for years – and that while many dislike the schedule, there are those who would keep it.

Ms Thom’s comments come amid a renewed call for action on the rotas following a mental health pledge from North Sea operators.

Energy giants BP and Shell are among those to have signed up to the Time to Change campaign, aimed at ending mental health discrimination in the workplace.

The Unite trade union welcomed the initiative, but urged operators to go a step further and work with contractors to move away from three on, three off (3/3) shifts.

Changes to 3/3 rotas were widely reported during the oil sector downturn as operators tried to cut costs.

A report in April from Robert Gordon University said those on 3/3 shifts are twice as likely as those on a 2/2 to experience ill health.

BP, which runs a 3/4 and 3 /5 pattern, said the findings of the RGU report would be reviewed by BP, along with members of the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA).

The firm also runs an employee assistance programme, designed to help workers 24 hours a day with daily challenges, including personal health.

Operators cannot always determine which shifts are assigned to contractors on their rigs.

Energy Voice recently revealed Shell was considering changing its shift patterns as part of a wider review to make its operations “sustainable and competitive”.

Contractors on Shearwater are understood to have a 3/3 schedule, though Shell employees work to a 3/4 rota.

A leaked report by a safety representative on Shell’s Shearwater platform said new shift patterns had left workers’ partners “struggling with home” life, with some being diagnosed with depression.

But Ms Thom said that while it can’t be discounted as a contributing factor to mental health issues, 3/3 rotas are not the whole picture.

She said: “The drilling community has been operating on a three and three basis for years.

“A number of organisations changed their rota in response to very difficult business conditions as a result of the downturn which began in 2014. We can’t shy away from the fact that a number of people are unhappy working it. We are, of course, aware of some people who do like it.

“I don’t think I would draw a direct correlation between working a 3/3 rota and developing mental health issues. Shift patterns will be just one of a number of things affecting mental health.

“It is an issue growing in awareness. Our members are aware that mental health is an important aspect of their workforce so it’s not a new consideration for our members.

“I think there are a number of companies that have signed up to the Time to Change campaign. The onshore workforce has also been through a very difficult time. It’s a way more complex picture than something that was to do with 3/3 rotas.

“The industry takes this like all health issues − very seriously. It’s something that we have discussed with trade unions in the past when the downturn first happened.”

Ms Thom added that shift patterns are a decision for individual companies who may use different rotations for reasons, including the distance to offshore platforms.

A spokesman for BP said: “BP is committed to changing how mental health is viewed in our workplace and support employees who may be facing problems. Our Time to Change pledge is just one part of this.

“Throughout the year, we hold a range of events and employee engagement sessions which provide opportunities for people to talk openly about mental health, whether that’s their personal experiences or the experiences of others.

“We also offer a number of resources online so that people who have a fairly busy work and home life can access information in their own time. In addition, BP provides a free and confidential Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) designed to assist employees 24/7 in managing life’s daily challenges, including personal health.

“A manager or co-worker can also call the EAP, in confidence, for guidance how to start a conversation with a colleague they are worried about.

“BP will review the findings in the RGU report, along with our colleagues in OCA companies and across industry.”

Unite regional organiser Tommy Campbell said: “Unite welcomes this pledge by BP and hopefully all other major oil and gas companies follow this good example too.

“However we would ask that BP work constructively with the Offshore Contractors Association employers and unions to move away from 3/3 rosters in light of the RGU survey highlighting the adverse effect on offshore workers mental health and wellbeing.

“BP might have a set rota for its own staff but there are people on their assets that BP needs to be in conversations with.

“If there are better rotas that BP deploys for their own employees then it would be welcome if they were to support the contractors that they hire to operate similar rotas that are better for the workforce.

“Any improvement on the 3/3 rotas at the moment can only be a good thing for peoples’ wellbeing and mental health.”

OCA declined to comment.


If you work offshore and you are concerned about your or your colleagues wellbieng please contact Unite the union in confidence –

https://www.seemescotland.org/our-movement-for-change/time-to-talk/

http://www.unitetheunion.org/uploaded/documents/Unite%20guide%20to%20work-related%20stress%20-%20May%20201611-2691711-28861.pdf

http://www.unitetheunion.org/uploaded/documents/shiftandnightwork%2011-4950.pdf

http://www.unitetheunion.org/uploaded/documents/Gofal%20Unite%20toolkit%20-%20Eng%20-%20web11-27877.pdf

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Rota changes taking toll on mental health of North Sea workers and families, leaked report says

Rota changes taking the toll on the mental health of North Sea workers and families, leaked report says

 

Offshore rota changes are taking their toll on the mental health of North Sea workers and their families

The oil rig twins, Ocean Princess (left) and Ocean Nomad (second left) in the Cromarty Firth.

Unite the Union officials back Airbus’ latest copter safety steps

Union officials back Airbus’ latest copter safety steps

 

Written by  – 

Wreckage from the Super Puma crash in Norway, 2016.

Union officials have backed Airbus’ efforts to make its global fleet safe in the wake of a fatal Super Puma helicopter crash in Norway.

Safety checks introduced in the wake of the 2016 tragedy are being extended to certain models of aircraft currently operating in the North Sea.

Meanwhile, footage has emerged of a recent crash in South Korean, in an eerie reminder of deadly accidents in the UK.

France-based Airbus has said systems which can help detect gearbox wear and tear need to be inspected more often on the increasingly popular H175 model.

And the manufacturer has ordered the replacement of those systems on H155 helicopters, which have been used for oil rig flights in small numbers.

Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell said: “Any step taken by a company to improve helicopter safety is always welcome.”

Airbus’ spokesman said the application of upgrades across its global fleet showed its “commitment to continuous improvement”.

He said the measures included the use of “improved monitoring and detection systems” and were supported by Europe’s aviation watchdog.

Thirteen people died near Bergen in April 2016 when the rotor on a Super Puma detached. Iain Stuart, 41, from Laurencekirk, was among the victims.

Super Pumas were swiftly grounded, but aviation authorities in the UK and Norway infuriated trade unions in July 2017 when they lifted the flight ban.

The watchdogs said the aircraft could not return to action until certain modifications and upgrades had been made. They are yet to return to the North Sea.

Concluding their investigation in July, Norwegian authorities said the rotor broke off due to a “fatigue fracture” in a “second stage planet gear” in the main rotor gearbox.

They said the fault was “probably” caused by tiny pieces of debris wearing away at the component.

Airbus said the crash was “unpreventable”, despite similarities with a fatal accident that killed 16 people near Peterhead seven years earlier.

Also last month, the rotor detached from a South Korean military helicopter shortly after take-off, resulting in five deaths and one injury.

The incident involved a helicopter designed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), with some gearbox components supplied by Airbus.

It is unclear whether those components contributed to the equipment failure.

A video of the incident appears to show at least one of the blades wobbling and breaking before the rotor came off.

Mr Campbell said: “Unite is very saddened to hear of the loss of life in another helicopter accident in Korea.

“In respect of the oil and gas industry, Unite is continuing with its campaign to keep the North Sea Super Puma free.”

puma-free-photo_orig

Airbus declined to comment on the incident in South Korea.

 

 

Unite to ballot Mariner workforce on new pay offer

mariner sbo  Unite  to ballot Mariner workforce on new pay offer

Written by  – 

Mariner platform with the Safe Boreas. Photo credit: Jamie Baikie/Statoil

Trade union Unite has announced it will ballot its members on a revised pay offer on Equinor’s Mariner platform.

The union confirmed yesterday that a new offer had been tabled by oil field service firm Aker Solutions and that its membership had agreed to remove an overtime ban as a gesture of “good will”.

Unite also said the new offer “addresses a number of key concerns” raised in the successful ballot for industrial action including training, turnable beds nightly allowance, standby and bonus payments.

A fresh vote on the offer will take place on August 13. Some 83.4% of Unite members on a 80.1% turnout voted to reject the previous offer.

Unite regional officer John Boland said: “There has been significant movement by Aker management over the last week to address a number of the key concerns our membership had which led to an overwhelming mandate for industrial action. These latest negotiations have been conducted in a constructive way which led to Unite making the decision to remove the overtime working ban as a gesture of goodwill.

“The new offer will be put to our membership in a consultative ballot with a recommendation to accept, but it is ultimately in their hands as to whether they think this is an acceptable offer.”

Crew on the £4.5 billion project downed tools for eight hours in an ‘unofficial strike’ on April 7 in a dispute over pay and working conditions.

They are believed to have declined to work overtime the following day.

Trade union sources suggested a lack of accommodation had led to unfavourable changes in shift patterns.

Meanwhile, strike action continued yesterday on North Sea platforms operated by French oil giant Total.

The row centres on Total’s plans to switch workers’ rotas from two weeks on, three weeks off to three on, three off.

Workers voted to down tools in a series of 24-hour and 12-hour strikes. Last Monday, 24-hour strikes halted production on the Alwyn, Dunbar and Elgin.

Further 24-hour stoppages will take place on August 6 and August 20 with an additional 12-hour stoppage on August 13.

The latest production data on the Oil and Gas Authority’s website indicates the three fields pump out more than 70,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day combined.

Unite regional officer Wullie Wallace confirmed “no talks” had taken place with Total.

 

#NorthSeaStrike Support & Solidarity

 

 

 

36643262_10216743250959811_3661948498787434496_nPlease see below messages of support for the Unite TOTAL members and to all union members who have taken or are in the process of organising Industrial Action/Strike Action in the North Sea to win for workers.

A big thanks to all trade unionists who  publicly showed support for all Union members in dispute  (not all are on this stream)

 

  • A message of support from John Gillespie, Chair of Unite Scotland.

‘Solidarity and support from all of the Unite Scottish Executive Committee’

 

  • Unite the Union Scotland Organisers, Officers and Staff send a message of solidarity and support and will assist all the brave and comradely actions that Unite members and sister offshore trade unions during any Industrial dispute, which Unite members have to take to win and protect existing terms and conditions.

You may not always win – however if you don’t fight you will never win any industrial struggle. collectivising your fellow work colleagues is the only way you can win.

 

  • Message from Denise Christie, FBU.

‘Solidarity from FBU Scotland. Keep strong and united. Firefighters are right with you’

 

  • Message from Jim McGinn
    Branch Secretary
    Unite Branch SC/157/NHS Ayrshire & Arran
    Vice-Chairperson – Unite Scotland Health Committee
    Scottish Executive Member

Dear comrades,

I am writing to you to provide you all with a message of solidarity from Unite members in NHS Ayrshire & Arran.

I am always dismayed when workers have to take the ultimate sanction of strike action for it means that employers have failed in their attempts to address the needs of workers. In this instance, it is even worse as this is clearly a health and safety issue with the employer changing a shift pattern with no cognisance of how their actions will adversely affect the health, safety and wellbeing and work/life balance of the workforce. Everyone at Branch SC/157/NHS Ayrshire and Arran wish you well in your struggle to take on an employer who appears to have little regard for you and we salute the brave stance which you are taking. If there is anything we can do to support you in any further way then please let me know.

In solidarity,

Jim McGinn

 

2,369 people reached

Comments
Rob Williams
  • Rob Williams Solidarity from the National Shop Stewards Network NSSN
Unite Offshore
 
  • Trevor Cox All the best from Unite Newcastle Construction Branch.
Dave Smith
  • Dave Smith Solidarity from Blacklist Support Group 
 
Ivan Crane
Tony Seaman
  • Tony Seaman All the best from Unite 404/18 Middlesbrough Construction Branch
John Winstanley
John Bowman
  • Good luck from the Lads on the Mariner A Platform stand tight stand together 
  • Wishing you guys all the best…You are already overworked..All the best…

 

  • Solidarity and support to the Total workers engaged in Industrial action in the #NorthSea from Unite 154/13 Tayside Contracts Branch

 

  • Unite  members in  Odfjell drilling workers stand in solidarity ✊️

 

  • Jimmy McGuinness and the Unite NHS Tayside branch                                                Arise ye workers from your slumber. The ultimate act in any industrial dispute is the withdrawal of our labour for a just cause. NEVER has it been so important to show solidarity in the face of evil.  a chant from the big meeting that is always front and centre……..”THE WORKERS UNITED,WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED”  

 

  • Solidarity from The Peoples Assembly Scotland to the Unite Scotland off-shore members currently on strike on the North Sea oil and gas platforms operated by Total E&P.

 

  • A message of solidarity from the Brent Bravo. With you all the way!

 

  • Message from Scottish Hazards.Solidarity to all Unite members working offshore and taking industrial action today, see our post on @ScottishHazards

 

  • Solidarity and support from GSK workers in Unite Montrose Branch SC/337

 

  • A message from Chris Elder and the Unite Dundee Taxi branch send support and solidarity to all  offshore Union members taking Strike Action

 

  • Message of support from Unite Branch 700/62 – West Dunbartonshire Council

‘Wish you all our support in your forced Action. Solidarity.

  • Unite COTA (Catering Offshore  Trading Association)  members on BP Clair Ridge sends a message of support to all the TOTAL workers on strike. Together we are stronger United we stand! Solidarity brothers and sisters                                             Unite Offshore COTA Branch, sends solidarity to members of Unite on strike on Total offshore oil and gas Platforms.RegardsBranch Secretary COTA
  • Unite Offshore branch SC/156 Bilfinger Salamis fully support and send messages of support and Solidarity to our fellow Unite members in taking Industrial action on TOTAL installations in the North Sea Solidarity to all Union members in the North Sea taking strike action – now and in the future.RegardsPhil Munro 
    SC/156
    Branch Secretary.

 

 

  • Blacklist Support Group sends a message of support to all the TOTAL workers on strike today. Together we are strong – solidarity
  •  Unite members working on the Mariner project have sent a message of solidarity and support to Unite members taking action on the TOTAL’s Alwyn, Elgin and Dunbar platform.’We send our support to fellow Unite members taking strike action today. AKER members on the Mariner have now voted for Industrial Action. Standing up to the cuts and proposed changes is the only way we can force through better conditions for everyone working offshore. We wish you every success in your dispute. Solidarity from the Mariner.’

 

  • Solidarity and support from County Durham Teaching Assistants Activists committee #ValueUs

 

  • The Scottish Trade Union Congress sends  to the @UniteScotlandmembers currently on their 1st 24h strike today on the  oil and gas platforms operated by Total E&P. We urge trade unionists in Scotland to send msgs of support to them using 

 

If you wish to pass on a message  of Support  & Solidarity to Offshore workers in dispute with their employer in the North Sea   please  contact  any of the following streams

 

Twitter: @UniteOffshore  –   @Unitescotland

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uniteoffshore2015/

https://www.facebook.com/UniteScotland/

 



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North Sea oil workers go on strike in row over offshore pay and rotas

SP225OSWorkers on three North Sea platforms have gone on strike in a row over offshore rotas and wages.

Union Unite said its members started the 24-hour strike on Monday at 6am on Total E&P’s Alwyn, Dunbar and Elgin platforms.

Unite regional officer John Boland said: “We can confirm that the strike action on Alwyn, Dunbar and Elgin platforms has gone ahead as planned.

“Production has been stopped and the wells have been shut.

“Although no further talks are planned at present we would urge the company to come back to us with an improved offer to get our members back to work and the wells up and running again.”

The industrial action is the first of five planned stoppages and coincides with a continous overtime ban.

Further 24-hour strikes are planned for August 6 and 20 with twelve-hour walkouts on July 30 and August 13.

The union said the dispute centres on a wage review and plans to move workers to a three weeks on three weeks off rota, involving an extra week offshore.

Total E&P said it wants to introduce a uniform rota system which will bring staff in line with workers on their recently acquired Maersk Oil installations.

A Total E&P spokeswoman said the strikes have gone ahead despite it making new proposals.

She added: “Once more, we would like to reaffirm that what is at stake here is to ensure the long term sustainability of our business in the North Sea, to enhance overall safety and remain the most efficient in our operations.”

Meanwhile, members of a second union working for Aker Solutions on the Mariner platform have voted to strike in row on payments and expenses.

GMB members on the North Sea oil rig voted by 78% in favour of strike action, in a ballot with 79% turnout.

The announcement follows Unite members on the platform voting on Friday in favour of striking.

The workers rejected a final pay, terms and conditions offer by management.

Ross Murdoch, GMB National Officer, called on Aker Solutions to engage with union representatives to find a resolution.

He said: “GMB members have now let their feelings be known to Aker Solutions.

“They are prepared to take industrial action to vent their frustration over the way they feel their employer is treating them on this very lucrative contract.”

An Aker Solutions spokesman confirmed the vote, adding: “This is a disappointing development following the presentation of an enhancement to terms and conditions worth up to £8,000 per employee.

“Aker Solutions will now seek further discussions with the unions regarding their proposed steps to resolution.”


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