Unite has notified employers in the Catering Offshore Trade Association (COTA) that it will ballot its members across the agreement for industrial action. Ballot papers have been sent out to members in Sodexo, Aramark, ESS, Trinity and Entier. Our 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.
We are recommending that members who receive their ballot vote YES/YES to both questions. Unite are seeking a large mandate for action offshore, so we need as many members as possible to vote YES/YES and return their ballot papers. The ballot itself will run for six weeks, closing on Wednesday 21st of October. The long ballot period is to give as many members as possible to return their vote. However, its important you return your vote as soon as possible.
Vote YES to action short of a strike, and vote YES for strike action. We need to stand up and fight back now. Sometimes we can feel lucky just to have a job, but if these companies get away with ripping up a fair and reasonable negotiated pay deal, how long will it be before they come for the rest? If they get away with this now, they will soon come for our terms, conditions and basic rights. The attack on pay will only be the beginning. So we need to tell employers that we, the lowest paid workers offshore, are absolutely not prepared to bear the brunt of the fall in the price of oil. Our pay deal was fair and should be honoured. If we are goingn to have a sustainable industry in the North Sea, respect must be given to those who make it operate, who make it habitable and who make it safe. We deserve this respect. We deserve fair pay. We deserve better. Vote YES/YES.
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.
“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 to prevent a damaging race to the bottom.”