Unite is now preparing for industrial action in the North Sea after members under the COTA agreement voted to take industrial action. 54.2% of members voted for strike and 62.7% also voted for action short of strike against the employers who refused to honour the second year of a two year negotiated pay deal. Unite has registered its disappointment that no amicable conclusion could be reached.
Regional Officer John Boland said: “We have always left the door open for the employers to come back to the table and talk about re-establishing the pay deal – and that remains the case.
“We are not blind to the significant challenges facing our industry – our members have been at the coal-face of the downturn from the start – but it sets a dangerous precedent for employment rights if companies are able to impose change without negotiation and that’s why we are now looking at a strike action scenario.
“We are taking a stand now to protect out terms and conditions in the long run.”
Workers in the North Sea are currently being subjected to an unprecedented attack by employers driven by a ‘race to the bottom’ agenda on jobs, terms and conditions. A recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the Oil & Gas Industry Council warned firms against making short-term tactical cuts rather than focusing on longer-term structural changes.
As much as the COTA companies try to tell us they need to cut pay to save jobs, the evidence simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Imposed cuts will effectively run the industry into ‘managed decline’. We want a sustainable future for the oil industry and our members have decided that the best way to achieve this is to take a stand against this attack on thousands of livelihoods.
The Unite COTA branch has established a Strike Committee who will meet again to further discuss tactics regarding the industrial action. We will issue a communication to members in the coming week advising on the next steps.
The Unite COTA branch meetings are being held on the 6th, 20th and 27th of November at 10 am in the Unite office at 44-46 King Street, Aberdeen.