Unite press release

Unite calls for more clarity on PM’s plans for oil and gas sector

28 January 2016

Unite, the UK’s biggest offshore trade union, has today (Thursday 28 January) called on the Prime Minister to clarify the UK government’s long-term plan for the oil and gas sector amid workforce fears of a ‘race to the bottom’ across the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

The Prime Minister said he would set out ‘a bridge to the future’ for the sustainability of employment  but as he announced a new ‘city deal’ for the north east economy , offshore workers are demanding more details about  how the UK government will stop the year-long campaign of cuts to jobs, terms and conditions.

Over 65,000 jobs and rising have been lost since January 2015 and turbulent market conditions continue with the price of oil at just over $32 a barrel.

Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “We are pleased that our political leaders are recognising the severity of the situation and investing in the north east economy, which has been hammered by the oil price slump.

“We’ve also heard calls from the Scottish Government for further tax breaks for the offshore industry but workers now need clarity from the Prime Minster about how he intends to safeguard employment, skills and also occupational safety across the UKCS.

“The response of many companies to the crisis has been one of maximum efficiency at the lowest cost possible – imposing heavy cuts to jobs, terms and conditions in the process – but this ‘race to the bottom’ cannot continue indefinitely.

“The workforce must be the biggest beneficiaries of all future investments and tax breaks.  This can be achieved by demonstrating that money is directly allocated to employment and improving safety standards instead of beefing-up profit margins.

“The UK needs the oil and gas sector to contribute to energy supply security and economic growth but this cannot be achieved with an increasingly casualised workforce and an occupational safety regime relegated to a second-tier priority.”


For further information please contact Peter Welsh on 07810 157931.

Twitter: @Unitescotland Facebook: UniteScotland  Web: http://www.unitetheunion.org

Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with 150,000 members across the economy.  The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.

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Unite OCA members vote to accept improved offer

Unite, the UK’s biggest offshore trade union, has today (Friday 8 January) repeated its call for the industry to end its year-long imposition of cuts after members in the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) agreement accepted improvements to their terms and conditions.

Following a consultative ballot, OCA members, who provide critical maintenance across installations in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), voted to accept improved holiday entitlement and a joint review of the ‘three and three’ equal time shift rotations by over 50 per cent.

The agreement ends a prolonged dispute which previously seen workers reject efforts by some OCA employers to impose cuts to jobs, terms and conditions without consultation following the slump in oil price.

Unite Regional Officer Tommy Campbell said: “This demonstrates that even in times of crisis the most effective way forward is for the industry to work with trade unions through proper consultation channels under a collective agreement.

“What our oil and gas sector urgently requires now is a genuine co-operation between government, industry and the offshore trade unions to respond to this on-going crisis, alleviating the pressure on the industry while protecting employment rights.

“This is the only way we can begin to build a safe and sustained recovery for the UK offshore sector.”

Further information will be issued direct to Unite members covered by the OCA.