Offshore Coordinating Group publishes new research into offshore safety

Offshore Coordinating Group publishes new research into offshore safety

April 29th 2016

The Offshore Co-ordinating Group (OCG) is today publishing a new report, ‘Safety Critical Offshore Workers in the UK Oil and Gas Sector: Hours, Shifts and Schedules’, commissioned from the Scottish Centre for Employment Research (SCER), Strathclyde University.

The report draws on current research evidence to consider the implications for health, safety and wellbeing of a change from two weeks offshore, two weeks onshore (2/2) to three weeks offshore/onshore (3/3) working schedules.

The report: • finds that “the current available evidence does not allow clear conclusions to be drawn about whether working regular three week tours poses significant health and safety risks but…there are suggestions this may indeed be the case”; and, • identifies a number of areas of health and safety concern that could be ‘particularly problematic’ in a three week tour offshore including fatigue, increased potential of severe accidents, excess overtime, older installations and mid-shift changes in rotation (e.g. switching from day-to-night shift from night-to-day shift). Speaking on publication of the report, Tommy Campbell, OCG Chair and Unite, said:

“This OCG commissioned this report in response to the widespread concern of the offshore workforce over the imposition of new working patterns and the possible impact on safety and safety culture as a result of the current economic downturn in the North Sea. The report provides a sober and detailed assessment of the potential impact on individual workers and offshore safety regimes of the move towards 3/3 working. Its findings suggest that workers’ concerns are more than justified and that operators must now cease implementation of 3/3 schedules in order that legitimate concerns can be properly addressed by all relevant authorities.

“Government at all levels and regulatory agencies must pressure operators to stop using these potentially dangerous new working patterns and fund additional research into their impact on health, safety and wellbeing”.

Jake Molly, OCG Vice-Chair and RMT said:

“The OCG strongly believes that offshore workers, or indeed workers in any safety critical occupation, should not be forced to work 21 straight days of 12 hours shifts. However too many operators have taken advantage of the turbulence caused by the falling oil price to implement these very work schedules. This report strongly suggests that the industry as a whole needs to urgently address the safety implications of 3/3 working before real damage is done”.



1 The OCG was recently established to coordinate trade union policy and campaigns in the oil and gas sector. The following unions are members of the OCG: Unite, RMT, GMB, BALPA and Nautilus International.

2 The report, ‘Safety Critical Offshore Workers in the UK Oil and Gas Sector: Hours, Shifts and Schedules’ can be accessed on the OCG’s new website

Contact Kevin Buchanan or Stephen Boyd 0141 337 8100


Offshore Coordinating Group expresses anger and frustration at ongoing attacks on jobs, terms and conditions

ocg  dundee


Offshore Coordinating Group expresses anger and frustration at ongoing attacks on jobs, terms and conditions
April 27th 2016
The recently established Offshore Coordinating Group (OCG) is today expressing anger and frustration at the ongoing and severe attacks on jobs, terms and conditions being driven by large operators in the oil and gas industry.
Tommy Campbell, OCG Chair said:
“The latest cuts in terms and conditions being imposed without prior consultation are a step too far. It is simply impossible to sustain a safe working environment and a motivated workforce when workers face ongoing, arbitrary attacks on their working conditions and standard of living. As the OCG said on its launch, the collaboration and innovation pivotal to the North Sea’s future can only be achieved through mature engagement between all parts of the industry. Treating workers as an entirely disposable asset will hasten not prevent the industry’s decline”.
Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary said: “The offshore unions, through the OCG, are working tirelessly with employers, agencies, regulators and government at all levels to ensure the oil and gas industry in Scotland and the UK can have a sustainable future. Therefore it is immensely frustrating to continually have the rug pulled from under our feet by operators and contractors apparently incapable of handling industrial relations in a mature fashion. The operators must understand that cuts can’t be continually forced on the supply chain without serious consequences for safety. Contractors have to realise that in the difficult time for the industry industrial relations must be handled with integrity and sensitivity”.

Unite Scotland statement on opposition to pay and conditions changes on Shell platforms in the North Sea

For immediate issue, Sunday 24th April 2016
Unite Scotland statement on opposition to pay and conditions changes on Shell platforms in the North Sea
Offshore workers employed by the Wood Group on Shell’s North Sea  platforms are demanding that new proposals to cut further their terms and conditions be withdrawn, according to Scotland’s biggest union, Unite.
Unite is to meet with the Wood Group management team later this week to carry the message of opposition to further cuts on behalf of the offshore workforce.
The offshore workers say that the major oil companies are dictating that further cuts to their employers be passed onto the workforce.  This is now giving rise to serious consideration by offshore workers that they will revert to industrial action to protect and defend their pay and conditions at work.
The Wood Group workers are also concerned that the continuing reductions in the workforce could make it impossible for the rigorous health and safety standards that ought to govern offshore work to be observed.
Commenting, Unite’s Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said:
“Unite has long warned that the oil and gas industry is cutting too fast and too far.  Lives and safety are being put at risk and workers have had enough.
“It is approaching thirty years since the horrific Piper Alpha disaster yet it seems that the oil and gas industry has learned little from the world’s worst offshore disaster where 167 workers lost their lives.
“Employers must not respond to the current downturn in this industry’s fortunes by putting people in a position of risk.  When workers feel so frustrated as to take actions such as those taken today, it is because their concerns need to be listened to.
“I repeat our call for all involved in this vital industry to be brought together in an oil and gas summit so that safety standards are not the casualty of this downturn and that the potential for catastrophe is averted.
“Unite will be consulting with our members about their concerns and will consider what official industrial action may be necessary.  But we say to the employers, do not delay in seeking to address the issues that demand immediate attention.”
Unite Scotland has been calling on the industry to redouble its efforts to tackle its safety challenges  by properly engaging with workers and their trade unions, particularly in light of the recent issues with HSE cuts, offshore helicopter transport safety and an ageing offshore infrastructure.  Around fifty per cent of fixed platforms on the UK continental shelve have exceeded their 25-year live span.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web:
Notes to editors
• Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.


COTA Wage Negotiations 2016/17 – Joint Shop Stewards Meetings

COTA Wage Negotiations 2016/17 – Joint Shop Stewards Meetings

Please be advised that prior to the 2016/17wage negotiations commencing there will be three joint shop stewards meetings. The purpose of these meetings will be to discuss the aspirations of our members and what they see as the priority in the forthcoming negotiations. To assist with this process please ensure your local Shop Steward is aware of your priorities and that this is conveyed on your behalf.

Every catering shop steward should make an effort to be at one of the following meetings so that the views of the membership can be aired. Travel expenses for attending these meetings should be reclaimed from your employer.  If any catering shop steward cannot attend at least one of these meetings they should contact their respective union directly at the earliest opportunity with points they wish raised on their members behalf.

Joint shop stewards meetings will take place at the UNITE the Union office 42-44 King Street, Aberdeen, AB24 5TJ commencing 10:00hrs sharp on Friday 22nd April Friday 6th May and Friday 13th May. We will keep our joint membership fully informed of any update in due course.

OCA Branch meeting – 19/04/2016 – All members welcome

For the attention of all Unite members covered by the Offshore Contractors Association(OCA) Agreement.

The Offshore Co-ordinating Group (OCG) of which Unite is a leading member is having a fringe meeting at this years Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) in the Caird Hall, City Square, Dundee, DD1 3BB on Tuesday 19th April 2016 at 12:30 – 14:00.

Please click below for information on the OCG.

OCG State of Industry Report Feb 2016OCG State of Industry Report Feb 2016

This will be immediately followed by OCA Branch meeting which Unite members covered by the OCA can attend to ask questions and hear updates from your Unite shop stewards and Regional officers. The meeting is scheduled to run from 14:00 to 16:00.

If you have any questions relating to this meeting, please contact the Branch Secretary, Roy Bruce at

Please see flyer which can be printed.

SC156OCA branch flyer April 2016 (3)