Unite Regional Office
42-44 Kings Street
T: 01224 645271
Mr Paul Atkinson
Offshore Contractors Association
Bridge of Don
Date: 21st December 2016
OCA Dispute Resolution Procedure – Unite/GMB Pay Claim 2016/17.
As per appendix F of the Offshore Contractors Partnership Agreement, as signatory full-time trade union officials, we are invoking the Dispute Resolution Procedure in regards to the failure to agree the Unite/GMB Pay Claim 2016/17.
As discussions so far have included the national officials of the signatory trade unions this procedure would commence at the Final Stage of this procedure, and any resolution should be within 6 weeks of this application.
Under part F3.3 of the procedure, the status quo will be maintained until agreement is reached at any stage in the procedure or it is exhausted. Notwithstanding this, the signatory trade unions will prepare industrial action ballots, in case of failure to secure a resolution.
David Hulse Tommy Campbell
OCA Chairman OCA Secretary
Unite have served notice on the offshore contractors association (OCA) and member companies.
All Unite and GMB members should prepare for a legal industrial action ballot and be strike ready should there be a YES vote from the legal postal ballot through Electoral reform service.
Unite and GMB elected workplace shop stewards along with full-time union officials will be in dialogue with the OCA negotiators throughout the process and the run up to an Industrial action strike ballot in line with the UK employment law.
Industrial Action/Strike Ready
All Unite trade union members details must be correct and up to date, if you have been given a new contract or your job or employer or if anything in your employment status has changed, It will have to be updated and verified on our membership system.
e mail : firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- Unite the Union membership Number
- Full Name (as on your offshore vantage card)
- Full Postal Address
- Date of Birth
- Employer (Name of company)
- Where you work(Location/Installation/ mobile within a company or field or contract)
- Current Job title
- Employment status
- which rota and shift your on (mobilisation date / de mobilisation date )
- Employment status:
- Core Crew
- Full time
- fixed term contract
- employee who is contracted to work for an employee on varying contracts
- (you can answer more than one of the above)
9. Who is the Unite point of contact on your shift.
10. Who is your Unite Union workplace rep/shop steward
Please e mail either of the following with your updated details
the firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
If your colleagues are not members of a Trade Union then recruit them into Unite today the more members you have the stronger you are and you have a better chance of winning
It is vitally important that members who can vote, do vote in the Industrial action ballot, as new anti-trade union laws around ballot thresholds brought in by the Tory government in the Trade union Act 2016 will apply early 2017. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/trade-union-act-becomes-law
If the complex laws around industrial action ballots are breached there could be legal challenges to the ballot, the ballot could be delayed and declared null & void and a lengthy time period in the courts will ensue , this will be the employers preferred option to delay and frustrate the union members, go down a lengthy costly legal route to delay and put another ballot in place.
Misinformation divide and delay are employers key weapons in Industrial disputes Our key weapons are solidarity, members collective strength and communication. it is vitally important that all union members stay strong and to deliver results in industrial disputes. We only get one chance to get it right and jump through all the legal hoops along the way.
Therefore to force any employer back to the negotiating table, only comes from a position of strength by the union, the employer has to re-assess their position and risk either change and improve their offer or stick and bust the union.
Unite members participation in any ballot is key and sets the ground rules for the strategy and plan to utilise Unite members collective strength and power to win the dispute.
To Win will require:
- An increase in Unite membership offshore. (Every workplace should recruit and grow membership)
- Unite workplace reps elected and communicating with members and the full-time officials.
- Unite points of contact (Focal Point) on each installation, each shift and each rotas (This was achieved in the latest offshore Wood Group – Unite- RMT Union dispute in 2016)
- Communication strategy, company, rig and Trade Union-wide.
- We require your e-mail address to achieve this (We can then contact you on to update you on the dispute) e -mail firstname.lastname@example.org or the email@example.com
- Unite members committed to taking Industrial action together and seeing the fight through to the end.
The Industrial Action Ballot (The Trade Union Act 2016)
New Thresholds on IA ballots
The Conservative party made a manifesto commitment during the 2015 election to ensure that unions had a democratic mandate before they called their members out to take part in industrial action. The result was the Trade Union Act 2016, which became law in May 2016 but which is not yet in force.
The Act makes two significant changes to employment law, when a union can call a strike lawfully. To make a strike legitimate, a union will still be required to obtain a majority in favour of strike action out of those who have voted also , in addition:
- At least 50% of those entitled to vote in a ballot must have voted in all cases
- Where those involved in the dispute work in an ‘important public service’ there will be a requirement that 40% of those entitled to vote in the ballot have voted ‘yes’ to strike action
To have a successful ballot and be in the strongest position to negotiate with your employer you will have to deliver
- High Unite membership (density) within the OCA companies
- High Unite density turnout (Members voting over 70%)
- High Unite mandate on the question (Clear indication mandate on Industrial action or not)
Examples of recent offshore Industrial action ballots
- 2016 Wood Group v Unite & RMT
- 2015 COTA vs Unite & RMT
13 July 2016
Members of two unions at oil and gas company Wood Group have voted in favour of going on strike.
Members of Unite and the RMT unions at Wood Group have voted in favour of going on strike.
Unite and the RMT have been in dispute with the firm over what the trade unions have described as a “swingeing” proposed pay cuts.
Unite’s ballot had a turnout of 86.6% and 99.1% voted for strike action, while 98.5% of the RMT’s turnout of 67% also backed taking the same action.
2 : Sep 2015
A ballot by offshore catering workers has backed strike action.
Unite members of the Caterers Offshore Trade Association (COTA) were asked if they would be willing to take action over pay.
The result saw 54.2% of votes back strike action, with 62.7% supporting action short of strike.
Unite urged COTA to return to the negotiating table. Members of the RMT union are also being balloted on the issue.
Offshore catering workers from the RMT union have voted for action short of a strike in a dispute over pay.
The Caterers Offshore Trade Association (COTA) is seeking a pay freeze and also recently announced it would be consulting on about 500 job losses.
RMT union members narrowly voted against strike action, but for action short of a strike.
COTA indicated earlier it was retracting the second year of a two-year pay deal in a bid to secure jobs.
As you can see from the examples above, recent Offshore workers industrial action ballots the membership decide what clear route and what clear path they can take.
The strength of the action is determined by the solidarity in the vote and the turnout determines which action and power you the members have through your trade union when negotiating a resolution to your trade dispute with your employer.
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