COTA DISPUTE: BALLOT FOR INDUSTRIAL ACTION GOES LIVE
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.”
COTA BRANCH MEETINGS
For all those affected by this pay cut, come along to the branch meeting for catering, auxiliary and admin Unite members. Come along to the upcoming COTA Branch Meetings to find out more about the current dispute, to have your say and discuss the issues that matter to you and your colleagues offshore.
OCA DISPUTE UPDATE
Following the rejection of the latest Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) offer, Unite will be discussing with our members at the heliports the best way forward for the industrial dispute. You, the members have categorically rejected the OCA’s proposals over changes to shift rotas and terms and conditions following our consultative ballot.
Unite have approached the OCA confirming that Unite members have taken the democratic decision to reject the proposals. Unite confirmed our campaigning position that our members decision would be final. This newsletter is to advise you an informal meeting with the Chief Executive and Chair of the OCA has now taken place and the OCA have met with their Board to consider their response. The OCA have now advised Unite that they are unable to offer further improvements to the offer confirmed in their letter of 19 June 2015.
In particular they confirmed that they were not prepared to make alterations to their offer in regard to “equal time” (three on, three off rotas). The OCA have reiterated they value the Agreement and the stability it has enabled over the past 16 years and that they are available for further dialogue. However, given the indication they are not prepared to change their views, our commitment to our membership is clear.
“We will now begin the preparations for a lawful industrial action ballot for Unite members working within the OCA.”
This process will be closely scrutinised and our preparations will be critical in protecting you and ensuring the ballot cannot be legally postponed. We can fully expect the companies to use every legal means possible to try and stop our ballot. Unite organisers will be undertaking a major exercise to ensure that your voice is heard and not suppressed via legal battles. Many Unite members will have been contacted by a Unite Organiser and updated their personal details.
The critical information we require to protect your ballot is your postal address, the company you work for, job title, rig and contract type (are you ad hoc, permanent, etc?)
If this has recently changed or if you have not yet supplied this information previously then please speak to an Organiser at the Heliports or email us at email@example.com
IF YOU WANT TO WIN: JOIN UNITE
In order to win, we need as many workers offshore as possible to join Unite.
There is a great deal of truth in the old saying that there is ‘strength in numbers’. We need as many workers in the North Sea to join Unite, to be ready to take part in the ballot and to tell colleagues to do the same. The oil companies and employers might seem strong, but when we all stand up and stand together, we can win. Unite is the largest and most organised trade union representing off shore workers. We need to have a strong membership to fight back against these attacks on our pay, jobs, terms and conditions- so if you’re already a member, ask a co-worker to join today. Make your voice heard, become part of the fight back that is needed to change the industry and to secure a better future off shore. Stronger together, stronger offshore, stronger in Unite. You can join online at http://www.unitetheunion.org, speak to one of the unite organisers at the heliports for a membership pack.
ASSIST THE CAMPAIGN OFFSHORE
Below are ways to get in touch with Unite organisers who can guide you in assisting with the campaign. We will always protect our workers from hostile employers- if you have something to say about how best to proceed with our campaign for a sustainable future for the offshore industry, then please get in touch. If you think you can help us build a picture of what’s really happening offshore, or if you can take information out to your co-workers, then email, call or text a Unite organiser asap. We need all members’ information to be up to date so that we are ballot ready. Continue to follow us on social media and on our website as detailed above. To move ahead legally with the dispute in the OCA, it is now absolutely crucial that Unite have the following info for every member: address / job title / rig / employer / contract type. If you haven’t already done so please send us your info either by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or speaking to an organiser
WILLIAM WALLACE- OCA OFFICER- email@example.com
JOHN BOLAND- COTA OFFICER firstname.lastname@example.org
UNITE ABERDEEN OFFICE –01224 645 271
TOMMY CAMPBELL –UKDCA OFFICER- email@example.com
BILLY DONOHOE – ORGANISER – firstname.lastname@example.org