Offshore workers strike talks end without agreement

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Offshore workers strike talks end without agreement

Fresh talks to avert further strike action by offshore workers have ended without agreement, BBC Scotland has learned.

It now looks certain a 48-hour strike on Thursday and Friday on seven Shell operated platforms will go ahead.

Unite and the RMT union are representing about 350 workers involved in a dispute over pay and conditions with oil services company Wood Group.

Some workers claim they are facing cuts of up to 30%. Wood Group denies this.

Unite said the unions offered to suspend industrial action if Wood Group removed the current proposal for changes to pay and conditions in full, to allow further talks.

The union said the offer was rejected and industrial action will continue as planned.

Wood Group said it was “hugely disappointed” that the action was progressing “despite the significant movements we had made”.

Dave Stewart, CEO for Wood Group’s eastern region business unit, said: “We were willing to suspend the implementation of the terms and conditions currently proposed to enable further detailed discussions with our employees and the unions.

“We urge the unions to show willingness to reengage with us with a clear objective of reaching a resolution that safeguards employment opportunities for our employees, their members, both now and in the future.

“The safety and wellbeing of our employees remains our top priority and our commitment is to ensuring this is not compromised by this extended period of industrial action.”

A 24-hour strike held a week ago was the first industrial action of its kind in the North Sea in nearly 30 years.

The industrial action, which affects the Shearwater, Gannet, Nelson, Curlew, Brent Alpha, Brent Bravo and Brent Charlie platforms, has also included an overtime ban and a series of shorter stoppages.

Production on the installations involved, all owned by Shell, has so far not been affected.

In February, Wood Group announced it was cutting rates paid to about a third of its UK contractor workforce.

It blamed the “continuing cost and efficiency challenges affecting the UK North Sea oil and gas sector”.

Workers are also disgruntled that a two-week working cycle has been changed to a three-week cycle, leaving many away from their families for a longer time.

 

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