Unite has notified employers in the Catering Offshore Trade Association (COTA) that it will ballot its members across the agreement for industrial action.
The dispute centres on the refusal of COTA employers to honour a modest pay agreement for the second year of a two- year pay deal, worth around 1.3 per cent.
All COTA employers, including soft services giants Sodexo, ESS and Aramark, have now been served with a statutory seven day notice for the ballot start period and the ballot itself will run for six weeks. Industrial action and an offshore strike, the first in a generation, would impact significantly on the delivery of catering and ancillary services on rigs across the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).
Unite Regional Officer John Boland said, “The point blank refusal of the COTA employers to honour our pay agreement has left us with no choice but to proceed to a formal industrial action ballot.
“Even against the backdrop of oil price volatility and industry pressure the profits of the COTA employers’ run into billions and it is unacceptable that our agreement negotiated in good faith is now being ignored.
“We are giving our members a clear recommendation to vote ‘yes’ for action short of a strike and ‘yes’ for strike action in order to secure the strongest possible mandate to defend their terms and conditions against the industry’s imposition.
“Our members keep the UK offshore industry fed and watered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year but we have to take a stand now in order