Unite members vote to accept Wood Group proposal

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Unite members vote to accept Wood Group proposal

22 September 2016

Members of Scotland’s biggest offshore union have voted to end an industrial dispute that led to the first North Sea strike in a generation.

In July, members of the Unite union working on Shell platforms across the North Sea started strike action after rejecting proposed cuts by their employer, the oil facilities company Wood Group.

The workers faced losing up to 30% in pay and allowances.

A proposal to end the dispute was put to members on 12 September, and today (Thursday 22 September) the union announced that they had been accepted by 105 votes to 82.

Unite regional officer John Boland said: “Our negotiations with Wood Group allowed us to reduce the levels of cuts being proposed to our members’ wages and terms and conditions.

“We were able to secure improvements to competency payments and the introduction of a flexibility payment. Threats to life insurance, health care and sick pay have been removed.

“We have a commitment to greater work security for ad-hoc workers, and they now have greater opportunities to progress into permanent posts.

“As ever, our members have shown themselves willing to be open to meaningful negotiations and are not blind to the challenges facing the offshore sector in these difficult times – but they have also shown they will not be treated unfairly.

“I would like to pay tribute to all the stewards and members who stayed united, strong and determined during this dispute. They can be proud of the way they stood by each other in this difficult time.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

For further information, or to arrange an interview, contact John Boland on 07918 630435 / 01224 6455271, or Unite Scotland Media & Communications Officer David Eyre on 07960 451631 / david.eyre@unitetheunion.org

Unite organised a 24-hour stoppage on Tuesday 26 July, followed by a series of three-hour stoppages, and then a 48-hour strike starting on Thursday 4 August on platforms owned by multi-national oil company Shell. The Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Nelson, Gannet, Shearwater and Curlew platforms were all affected.

The Wood Group proposal was put to Unite members in an electronic ballot, which opened on Monday 12th September and closed on 12 noon on Thursday 22 September.

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.

– See more at: http://www.unitetheunion.org/how-we-help/listofregions/scotland/latestnews/unite-members-vote-to-accept-wood-group-proposal/#sthash.ffH9jBLF.dpuf

 


 

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Norwegian Workers Go On Strike

 

Norwegian Workers Go On Strike

Published in Oil Industry News on Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Graphic for News Item: Norwegian Workers Go On Strike

Hundreds of Norwegian workers have gone on strike, after wage talks broke down.

Industri Energy – a Norwegian trade union has confirmed that 335 workers have now went on strike from Baker Hughes Norge AS, Halliburton AS, Oceaneering AS, Oceaneering Asset Integrity and Schlumberger Norge AS.

The strike has taken place after talks on the 20th of September between unions and the Norwegian Oil Industry Association broke down and no satisfactory resolution was reached.

The situation is likely to have a significant effect on the Norwegian oil industry as strike participants include engineers, ROV operators and handlers of drilling waste.

Oil prices have already seen rises of over 1% since the news broke earlier this morning.

State-appointed mediator Mats Wilhelm Ruland explained that neither organisation was close to a solution despite running 4 hours past the proposed negotiation deadline.

“They were too far apart,” Ruland said.

Industri Energi was negotiating on behalf of 6,500 members at 30 companies. The union has signalled that strike action could be taken up a notch if a resolution was not met.

Both parties shave agreed that strike action would delay the drilling of some wells, resulting in a reduced output for the country.

The Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, described the unions demand as “unreasonable” stating it was too difficult to increase wages during this current climate.

“A conflict won’t immediately affect the output of oil and gas from Norway’s continental shelf, but may do so if the conflict escalates,” the association said in a statement.

“Supplier companies have been particularly hard-hit by the decline in activity on the Norwegian continential shelf [NCS],” observes Jan Hodneland, lead negotiator at Norwegian Oil and Gas. “Many of them have been through a substantial restructuring in recent years.

“That’s involved big cost cuts and constant downsizing. These companies can’t cope with further growth in their costs. That would make the position worse for both of them and for the people they employ.”

 

Hodneland believes that a cautious pay settlement will help to improve the competitive terms for Norway’s supplier companies, and that both employers and unions must contribute preserving as many jobs as possible.

Industri Energi has now set up an official strike office in Stavanger.

Elsewhere in the UK, workers are voting on a new package proposal after weeks of strike action and negotiations.


 

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Grounded Oil Rig’s Operator to ‘Accept Lessons to be Learnt’

Grounded Oil Rig’s Operator to ‘Accept Lessons to be Learnt’

Published in Oil Industry News September 2016

Graphic for News Item: Grounded Oil Rig's Operator to 'Accept Lessons to be Learnt'

The operator of an oil rig that ran aground in the Western Isles will accept any lessons to be learnt from the incident.

The 17,000-tonne Transocean Winner grounded on Lewis after breaking free from the boat towing it during a storm on August 8.

The damaged rig leaked about 53,000 litres of fuel into the sea before being refloated and taken to Broad Bay, where pressurised air is being pumped inside to stop it sinking.

 

Speaking at a meeting in Stornoway on Tuesday, Dave Walls, Transocean’s operations director for north west Europe, said: “Any lessons to be learnt will clearly accepted and implemented by Transocean.”

He added: “We don’t want any oil spill, no matter how small. Every step [of the recovery] will be risk-assessed.”

Later this month, the Transocean Winner will be carried to Stornoway by the OHT Hawk, a 60,000-tonne vessel designed to ferry huge loads across the globe.

The rig will then be welded to the deck of the ship and taken to be decommissioned in Turkey.

Source: stv.tv

 


 

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Unite is Britain’s biggest union with 1.42 million members across every type of workplace.

Unite is the union for the 21st century meeting the great challenges facing working people today. It is a democratic and campaigning union which fights back for employees in the workplace, protecting workers’ rights and taking trade unionism out to millions of unorganised workers. It is a union that stands up for equality for all and advances the interests of its members on a political and national level.

Unite is also active on a global scale, building ever stronger links with trade unions around the world to confront the challenges of our globalised economy.

– See more at: http://www.unitetheunion.org/growing-our-union/about-us/#sthash.HqoDuFUQ.dpuf

 

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All Helicopters Grounded

 

All Helicopters Grounded

Published in Oil Industry News on  September 2016

Graphic for News Item: All Helicopters Grounded

All major Scottish heliports have had to ground commercial flights as adverse weather conditions span the country.

Thick fog and poor visibility across all of Scotland has resulted in a nationwide grounding of commercial helicopter operations.

With thick fog currently plaguing the country from North to South, all main heliports have been affected. The heavy fog is listed as current weather from as far North as Lerwick in Shetland and stretching down to the nations capital, Edinburgh in the central belt.

One offshore worker who provided the image experienced a similar situation yesterday as he sat in Bristows Helicopter Terminal from 6am to 3pm and will likely do the same today if conditions don’t improve.

The image shows dozens of workers awaiting further information with the thick fog present in the background.

The grounding of commercial helicopter operations will have a knock on effect across the sector as crew changes are delayed, workers are unable to return home and day trippers are unable to reach their locations.

The effect of the heavy fog is not confined to helicopter operations as Aberdeen Airport has advised passengers on social media to expect disruption and check with your airline prior to travelling to the terminal.

If you have a news story related to the oil and gas industry that you’d like to bring to our attention, please don’t hesitate to contact our news team at news@oilandgaspeople.com

 

Coastal fog

Coastal fog refers to the occurrence of fog over coastal regions, usually as a result of advection fog formation.

Coastal fog is a regular occurrence along the eastern coast of the UK and is most common during Spring and Summer.  In Eastern Scotland, it is known locally as Haar whilst in in Eastern Scotland and Eastern England the coastal fog is referred to as Fret.

How does coastal fog form?

Coastal fog is usually a result of advection fog which forms when relatively warm, moist air passes over a cool surface. In the UK, the most common occurrence of coastal fog is when warm air moves over the cool surface of the North Sea towards the east coast of the UK.

When this happens, the cold air just above the sea’s surface cools the warm air above it until it can no longer hold its moisture and so forces it to condense forming tiny particles of water which forms the fog that we see.

Coastal fog usually occurs in the spring and summer months when conditions begin to warm up but the sea (which warms more slowly) stays relatively cold.

The impact, location and movement of coastal fog depends upon a number of conditions, including wind strength, wind direction and land temperature. If, as is common along the UK’s east coast, the winds blow in from the east, the fog will often rapidly cover the coast in a blanket of fog. If the land temperature is warm the fog can quickly dissipate as the parcel of air warms, however if the land temperature is cooler, the fog can linger for a longer time.

Coastal fog might also refer to pre-existing fog which is transferred from a distant source and is simply moved to the coast by prevailing weather patterns.

Impacts

The sudden onset of coastal fog can sometimes be dangerous causing disorientation as it dramatically reduces visibility. It can also affect industries such as shipping and oil platforms where it has been known for stubborn coastal fog to disrupt productivity for long periods.

Find out more about the other types of and how they form on our Fog page.

Why  flights are grounded  offshore lessons learned from previous  helicopter accidents that may have happened due to fog .

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Back Home Safe  unite the union campaign on helcopter safety

http://www.unitetheunion.org/news/unite-launches-the-back-home-safe-campaign-for-offshore-workers/

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Transocean Pulled Before Government Committee Over Rig Grounding

Published in Oil Industry News ,  September 2016

Graphic for News Item: Transocean Pulled Before Government Committee Over Rig Grounding

The UK Government’s Transport Select Committee will carry out an inquiry into the grounding of the oil-rig Transocean Winner which ran aground on rocks in Dalmore on the West Coast of Lewis.

Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil wrote to Louise Ellman MP, Chair of the Transport Select Committee following the grounding of the Transocean Winner to request that they call on Transocean to attend a Committee Hearing.

Mr MacNeil said: “I am delighted that Transport Select Committee have agreed to my request, Committee Chair, Louise Ellman MP has indicated interest in completing a one-off oral evidence session on the grounding of the Transocean Winner on Dalmore Beach.

“I had asked the committee if they would consider asking Transocean to a committee hearing as questions need to be answered such as what risk assessment was carried out prior to the moving of this rig and why given the severe weather warnings, was the rig west of the Hebrides and exposed to the full force on the Atlantic gale.”

The Transport Committee’s schedule is not yet confirmed and as such no further details can be provided on the timing of the inquiry. However, they will keep Mr MacNeil updated as more details come to light.

He added: “I also hope that the Transport Select Committee will focus on the MCA refusing to have another tug in Stornoway and I will be writing to them to ask that as part of this hearing, they examine the MCA, who seem to be playing ‘King Canute’ to the Transocean Winner being washed up on Dalmore Beach.

“The recent justification given by the MCA is absolutely spurious, citing evidence taken earlier this year, before the Transocean Winner went on the rocks. We are talking of a five-year timeline and we know full well that an incident such as the Transocean Winner is a one in twenty or fifty year event.

“The upshot is that I feel that the MCA are not doing what it says on the tin. They are not guarding our coasts, they are crossing their fingers and hoping for the best and this is just not good enough.”

Source: Stornoway Gazette

 

Ends


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Unite is the largest trade union in for offshore workers in the North Sea UKCS

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Have a voice, take action and make change happen. Join the union

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Nicola Sturgeon Vows to Maximise Decommissioning Jobs

Published in Oil Industry News on  September 2016

Graphic for News Item: Nicola Sturgeon Vows to Maximise Decommissioning Jobs

Scotland’s First Minister has vowed to “maximise” the opportunities for the Scottish economy from the dismantling of oil platforms in the North Sea.

Dundee is well-placed to reap the rewards of a £17bn oil decommissioning industry, but the Scottish Government has been accused of not doing enough to help Scots firms to capitalise.

In her programme for government speech Nicola Sturgeon said that, as well as “supporting a healthy future” for oil and gas, she is “determined that our economy gets maximum benefit from planned decommissioning”.

 

She said Scottish Enterprise is developing a comprehensive Decommissioning Action Plan to “help to maximise the economic return to the Scottish economy”.

Willie Rennie, the Scottish Liberal Democrats leader, said Scotland needs more than “vague promises of an action plan on decommissioning”.

Charles Hammond, of Forth Ports, which has invested £10m preparing the Port of Dundee for the decommissioning market, said: “We call on the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise to provide the support required to ensure that these jobs can come to Dundee for the benefit of the Scottish economy as a whole.”

 

Ends

 

OCG Offshore Co-ordinating Group State of the Industry report (Feb 2016)

http://www.stuc.org.uk/files/Document%20download/OCG%20State%20of%20Industry%20Report%20Feb%202016.pdf

highlights that investment  and planning  are required to maximise the economic  benifits from  the  Oil & Gas sectors` decommisioning  programme of offshore istallations

A future worth fighting for “Despite the crisis currently affecting our members in the North Sea, the offshore unions are convinced there is a future worth fighting for. But building a sustainable future demands that the industry’s response to current challenges must be based on collaboration, innovation and common high standards and a mature assessment of why costs in the UKCS continue to be higher than similar jurisdictions. The economic benefits of the industry will not be maximised by undermining safety and job security or allowing the pool of skilled labour to evaporate. Thorough and substantive dialogue between unions, employers and Government will be central in determining  a positive future for the industry as well as dealing with current issues.

“Therefore the OCG has identified the following priorities as the minimum required to provide a secure future for North Sea workers:

 A coherent plan for maximising economic benefit from the North Sea must be developed. This should address opportunities for standardisation and simplification, and for diversification (e.g. renewables and Carbon Capture and Storage) as well as developing an approach to decommissioning which seeks to maximise UK employment opportunities over an appropriate timescales.

 In order to halt and ultimately reverse the rapid race to the bottom in employment standards, employers must continue to abide by national collective agreements.  Workers’ health and safety must remain paramount – it is essential that operators, contractors and regulatory agencies work with unions to ensure reporting systems are operating fairly and efficiently and that workers are empowered to raise concerns and not disadvantaged by doing so.

 Employment of foreign nationals on exploitative sub-national minimum wage contracts in shipping must end as must the flagging out of helicopter transport – the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) should have the power to set and police minimum standards.

 

 Workers who have been made redundant or at imminent risk of redundancy must be supported to find skilled employment at similar rates of pay; this should involve properly resourced, targeted retraining opportunities.

 The oil and gas companies should cease demanding cuts from contractors that have a direct and detrimental impact on jobs and safety – the OGA should be given powers to intervene to prevent such damaging abuses of market power.

“The OCG will also seek meetings with the relevant authorities to discuss a fiscal regime for the North Sea which is fair, robust and fit for purpose.”

Pat Rafferty, Unite

Steve Todd, RMT

Alan Ritchie, GMB

Jim McAuslan, BALPA

Steve Doran, Nautilus

Grahame Smith, STUC

Ends


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Transocean bosses to face MPs’grilling after rig disaster

 

transocean_winner_aground_2-2

Written by – 08/09/2016 :

Energy V0ice https://www.energyvoice.com/oilandgas/north-sea/118743/transocean-bosses-face-mpsgrilling-rig-disaster/

 

A powerful UK Government committee is to hold an inquiry into the grounding of the Transocean Winner rig which hit rocks in the Western Isles.

Bosses of the firm could be hauled before the Transport Select Committee after it agreed to look into the incident at Dalmore on the west coast of Lewis.

The move emerged yesterday as the UK Government confirmed that it would not be carrying out a risk assessment into the need for a second emergency tug to cover the west coast of Scotland.

Scottish Transport Minister Humza Yousaf branded the decision “disappointing and frustrating”.

Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil wrote to Transport Select Committee chairwoman Louise Ellman following the grounding to request that they call on Transocean to attend a committee hearing.

Mr MacNeil said: “I am delighted that Transport Select Committee have agreed to my request, committee chairwoman Louise Ellman has indicated interest in completing a one-off oral evidence session on the grounding of the Transocean Winner on Dalmore Beach.

“I had asked the committee if they would consider asking Transocean to a committee hearing as questions need to be answered, such as what risk assessment was carried out prior to the moving of this rig and why, given the severe weather warnings, was the rig west of the Hebrides and exposed to the full force of the Atlantic gale.”

He added: “I also hope that the Transport Select Committee will focus on the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) refusing to have another tug in Stornoway, and I will be writing to them to ask that, as part of this hearing, they examine the MCA, who seem to be playing ‘King Canute’ to the Transocean Winner being washed up on Dalmore Beach.”

The decision not to hold a risk assessment into the need for a second emergency towing vessel was revealed by UK Transport Minister John Hayes in a letter to Mr Yousaf.

Last night, the SNP minister said: “The UK Government’s refusal to conduct a risk assessment is disappointing and frustrating.

“The Transocean Winner incident has served as a powerful reminder that we must plan for the unexpected.”

Ends :

 

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Unite is the largest trade union in for offshore workers in the North Sea UKCS

Check out 10 good reasons why you should join Unite.

Have a voice, take action and make change happen. Join the union

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