Dear Member,
Following yesterday’s talks with the OCA in Aberdeen, we are very disappointed to report that despite giving the OCA every opportunity to negotiate with the union, we have been left with no option but to seek a mandate for lawful industrial action from you to continue our fight for workers’ rights offshore.
You have already given us a mandate to conduct this ballot, following the results of the consultative exercise in March.
Although the OCA has stated that the move to equal time rotation represents a need to make the North Sea “attractive to investment”, it is our opinion that it is the workforce that needs investment and our collective future should be subject to negotiation – not imposition.
We know that you are working at full capacity. Your livelihoods cannot and should not be subject to the fluctuations in the price of oil. Through our phone consultation with every Unite member under the OCA, you have repeatedly raised serious potential safety breaches that will be worsened by a move to 3:3.
The OCA states that it is concerned about any actions that would “jeopardise the future of the North Sea industry”. Our members have frequently told us that the only action jeopardising their future is the imposition of a 21-day shift pattern.
The combined organisations which make up the OCA have a turnover in excess of £3 billion. At the talks on 20th May, the OCA offered our members a small payment in return for accepting the new rotas. However, the OCA does not understand that this is not a question of money for you- this is a matter of safety and sustainability of our
North Sea oil industry. The changes to holidays and shift rotas also represent a threat to your health and work-life balance.
Although these changes did include some improved holiday and sick pay and a confirmation of payment for extra days worked under the new rotas for the hourly paid workers, we believe being paid for extra days is no concession as obviously people expect to be paid for extra time worked.
We are extremely disappointed that the talks have not been able to progress to a settlement and we hope that the OCA will reconsider this course of action. Unite has acted in good faith during the negotiations and suspended ballot preparations to allow a dialogue to take place, in the hope that it would be fruitful.
However, we have been left with no option but to seek a further mandate from you, our members, in the OCA for industrial action. You will decide the path that Unite takes in this dispute and as such we are urging our members to contact us as soon as they possibly can to ensure that we are fully prepared for an industrial action ballot.
We are in the process of contacting all of our members offshore and ensuring that details for every member are up to date. We need you to be ‘ballot ready’ in order to have a successful campaign to defend your future in the North Sea.
I will be in touch again soon to further update you as matters develop. In the meantime please do all you can to spread the word among your colleagues that workers are stronger when they stand together in their trade union.
Yours sincerely,
Unite Scottish Secretary
Pat Rafferty
If you haven’t yet received a phone call- you can reach us on 0141 3757065 or fill out the online form: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JVVTF9N


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