News Flash from the OCG: Airbus Helicopters Survey

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“Outreach to oil and gas workers”

The UK offshore Trade Unions (Unite, GMB RMT, Balpa and Nautilus), which form the “Offshore Coordinating Group” (OCG) and our colleagues from Industri Energi in Norway, are all surprised that Airbus has opted to run this survey. All of the Trade Unions representing offshore workers are very well aware of the workforce and passengers views about helicopter safety through our regular meetings and surveys conducted on this issue. The Trade Unions have had significant feedback about the specific aircraft featured in this survey, the H225, or the ‘Super Puma’ as most offshore workers refer to it.

We are also disappointed that Airbus felt the need to run a question which asks about the importance of certain factors, and specifically the “opinion” of the Trade Unions. As Trade Unions we only ever express the “opinion” of our members and in this case those members are offshore oil and gas workers. Airbus appear to imply by inclusion of questions structured in this way that the Trade Union “opinion” does not reflect the views of those we represent. Had we been consulted by Airbus about the structure of the questions we would have opposed this approach and a number of other questions which have been included.

Nevertheless, the survey is now live and open to workers across the North Sea so we will be actively encouraging our respective members to participate and to register their views on this critically important issue. In doing so, we would sincerely hope that Airbus openly and transparently shares the feedback received. Indeed, we would suggest that an independent body be appointed to collate and produce the findings for all stakeholders and especially for the group the survey is targeted at – offshore oil and gas workers.

OCG: Unite, GMB, RMT, Nautilus, Balpa

Industri Energi






Unite Offshore Catering & Auxiliary Service members (COTA) to be balloted on strike action

COTA Helicopter

Unite offshore catering members  (COTA)to be balloted on strike action


Established over 20 years ago, the Caterers Offshore Trade Association (COTA) represents six companies which supply catering and auxiliary services to offshore oil and gas rigs in the North Sea (Employers with Unite members grades A-E  balloted below)

26 June 2017

Unite, Scotland’s biggest offshore trade union, will today (Monday 26 June) serve formal notice on each of the employers represented by the Caterers Offshore Trade Association (COTA) – Aramark, Compass, Sodexo, Entier and Trinity.

Offshore catering members of Unite and the RMT had previously voted to reject a pay freeze. However 74 per cent of Unite’s membership demanded to be balloted for industrial action in pursuit of a pay rise. A pay rise which would be the first in two years after COTA reneged on an agreed pay rise due in September 2015.

Workers across the sector have had an agreed pay rise withdrawn and are now being informed by employers that a pay freeze is fair. Our members are being told that the offshore oil and gas industry cannot afford a pay rise despite pay rises being offered to other offshore workers.

Unite regional officer Vic Fraser said: “Within the last two years many of our offshore catering members have seen their offshore shifts increase to ‘three weeks on three weeks off’ resulting in many working two additional 84 hour weeks offshore, for no extra payment. They have had enough.

“Our members provide an invaluable service offshore including providing emergency cover for no extra payment. They are understandably frustrated about the way they are being taken for granted and undervalued.

“We have informed the employer that we remain willing to enter into meaningful discussions on a pay rise but in the meantime our members are telling us enough is enough.”

The catering ballot increases the potential of a far wider North Sea dispute given that construction workers who are members of Unite, GMB and RMT are also being balloted on industrial action in connection with their terms and conditions.


For further information contact Vic Fraser on 01224 645271 or email

Notes to editors:

  • 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. Twitter: @UniteScotland Facebook: UniteScotland2007


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Building Trade Union Power: This can be achieved with high trade union membership density & high member participation 

“UK offshore union Unite is urging people to join its organisation in an effort to combat pay cuts to workers. “

Supporting Offshore workers who unionise to improve their working lives, protect and improve their Terms and Conditions what Unite does.  (Unite Offshore)


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UK offshore union Unite is urging people to join its organization in an effort to combat pay cuts to workers.


It’s time to stand up for your future if you work offshore bosses pay up workers pay cut


The union took a step towards strike action on the UKCS earlier this year, as it served an official strike ballot notice to the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) over a pay dispute.

“Our members are growing angry over the behaviour of the OCA employers,” Unite Regional Officer John Boland said in a statement sent to Rigzone in April.

“If we are going to settle this dispute, we need substance, not spin. Until we get genuine commitment from the OCA to improve their offer, we will continue to act on our members’ wishes, and give them the chance to have a say on possible industrial action, including strike action,” he added.

Unite’s OCA pay ballot runs until June 30.

Building Trade Union Power 

This can only be achieved with High Union density in a workplace and the High Union participation by  Union members in a workplace. 

Unite the Union  Offshore position is to recruit more workers into Unite who work offshore covering  all collective bargaining agreements and within general offshore  companies and contractors where unite have a base membership and are also looking to expand into areas which have No or small union membership

How to Unionise your workplace

If you would like more information on how to unionise your Offshore workplace contact  Unite the Union  in confidence at the following  e-mail address

Union  membership  and recognition

You can join a Unite if you are an employee, self-employed,  student or unemployed please see link for more details see links below.

Worker Membership


Membership Rates

Community Membership

Trade Union recognition  you have a statutory right to have union recognition for collective bargaining  subject to  few  legal  requirements  covered by UK Employment Law  please see the ACAS link:


Campaigning  and Growing Unite offshore 

Unite the Union in the Oil & Gas Offshore Sector (UKCS)  will continue to campaign  and recruit  offshore workers  into Unite in order to  to build  membership density to have collective strength in numbers of workers in the Union (That’s what a union does  its day to day business is to organise workers to have a real say in their working lives and  even up the  power base within the contract of employment and the employer- employee relationship).

Unite the union is a not for profit organisation where the membership through the Unite rulebook and constitutional committees which elected lay member shop stewards and Branch officials decide Unites policy and which campaigns and which  direction it  follows.


All staff  assist the lay member democracy  to achieve the goals and aims, Unite Policy Conference, the National Executive Council and  recommendations and policy through National and regional  industrial sector committees, through input from Unite workplace and area branches ,and area activist committees and  retired member  branches , and minority workers and group branches covering the equalities  and diversity of our membership  encompassing   Lesbian- Bi -Gay and Transgender  (LBGT) ,  Black and Ethnic Minorities (BEM).

Unite the union is a not for profit organisation where the membership through the Unite rulebook and constitutional committees which elected lay member shop stewards and Branch officials decide Unite policy and which campaigns and direction it follows.

All staff  assist the lay member democracy  to achieve the goals and aims, Unite Policy Conference, the National Executive Council and  recommendations and policy through National and regional  industrial sector committees, through input from Unite workplace and area branches ,and area activist committees and  retired member  branches,  and minority workers and group branches covering the equalities  and diversity of our membership  encompassing   Lesbian- Bi -Gay and Transgender  (LBGT),  Black and Ethnic Minorities (BEM) ,Youth, Retired  Disabled  Youth and Women committees  and branches of their Unite  and are all   through  supported from Unite Staff,  Regional and National Officers, Industrial, Department, Community and Life – long Learning Organisers, Unite`s Education and lifelong learning department, learning legal  & affiliation department.

Information on  Unite

All information on Industrial  sectors


If you are not yet a member of a Trade Union and work offshore can you afford not to Join?

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Norway oil workers agree wage deal, ending threat of strike


OSLO, June 10 (Reuters) – Norwegian oil and gas firms secured a wage agreement with workers on Saturday, ending the threat of a strike that would have cut output at five fields, employers said.

The Norwegian Oil and Gas Association (NOG), which negotiated on behalf of energy firms, had warned that a strike by the Lederne trade union would have cut oil and gas output by 443,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

The five fields that were under threat of strike are operated by Statoil, Shell and Eni. (Reporting by Terje Solsvik, editing by Nerijus Adomaitis)

Article Courtesy of CNBC 





OCA Pay Ballot 2017 Unique campaign web page dedicated to Unite members and supporters who are taking part in the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) Pay Dispute 2017.

OCA Pay Ballot 2017

This web page is dedicated to Unite members who are taking part in the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) Pay Dispute 2017.

22.05.2017 For the Latest OCG Newsletter Click Here

The OCA Pay Ballot is by Postal Vote Only – 16.05.2017
Click Poster Below For More



For Flyers and Campaign Materials – Click here


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

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OCA Dispute ballot 4 weeks to go!



On-line resource page for members involved in the OCA ballot

We have built an on-line resource page for members involved in the OCA ballot.

Please keep checking this on a regular basis and if you need specific material for your company or installation then let us know.

Please share this page.


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Automation – offshore – Bring on the robots – Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) seeks new ways of using them offshore




Advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation, supported by substantial capital investments, are fueling a new era of intelligent automation, which is likely to become an important driver of organisational performance in the years to come. It is important for trade unions and workers within  companies in all sections of the oil and gas  sector Upstream –  mid – stream and down -stream  understand the change and  adopt strategies through their  collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) and trade union power against the risks of intelligent automation, employers may feel they will fall behind their competitors in their bottom line and profit and their share price. This will be another challenge for offshore trade unions to ensure workers are up-skilled and part of the process of negotiation to any threats to skills and jobs in the UKCS Oil &Gas sector.

As the cost of intelligent automation declines and its capabilities grow, applications of the technology will proliferate. Savvy use of intelligent automation starts as a competitive advantage and will become, over time, table stakes. Companies will need to consider a range of issues in order to take full advantage of the possibilities of intelligent automation:

  • Strategy: discovering how to use intelligent automation to improve operations, innovate, or grow
  • Technology selection and integration: choosing and integrating appropriate artificial intelligence technologies
  • Information management: acquiring and readying information assets for machine learning applications
  • Human capital: developing talent strategies and staffing and training plans as intelligent automation changes the skills, job descriptions, and organisational models that companies need
  • Risk management: assessing and mitigating a host of risks, from cyber threats and privacy breaches to product liability and even claims of discrimination, which could be leveled at poorly trained robotic recruiting agents.

Companies,  in the example above, may need outside expertise in artificial intelligence and data science to extract greater value from the rich data assets they already control. For others, benefiting from intelligent automation may require identifying and securing rights to third-party data sources that could power a machine learning system.

Yet more reasons to have the valuable trade union experience, expertise and advice in the world of work to protect your skills and jobs and future.


Bring on the robots – technology centre seeks new ways of using them offshore

Written by – 03/06/2017 7:00 am

The fledgling Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) is seeking inspiration for novel ways of using “plug-and-play” robots to cut asset inspection costs and help unlock marginal discoveries in the North Sea.

On Monday, Aberdeen-based OGTC will launch two “calls for ideas” (CfIs), each backed by investment funding worth about £1million.

Innovators can grab a share of the cash if they demonstrate their technology concept or idea can deliver transformation against a specific theme.

Ultimately, the aim is to tap 225 “small pools” of UK North Sea oil that are currently deemed too costly to develop.

One of the CfIs is focused on asset integrity, where OGTC is looking at how robotics could be used for the non-intrusive inspection – often in confined spaces – of pressure vessels and tanks.

The small pools CfI is aimed at standardising a subsea development life-cycle approach to support the rapid engineering and delivery of projects, better connectivity between modular components and the transfer of equipment from one field to another.

It also seeks to promote the use of key supplier components and resolve technology conflicts between current and future systems.

OGTC – launched just last year – will accept submissions for both CfIs from Monday until July 31. Full technical details and an of overview of the process will soon be available on the centre’s website.

Rebecca Allison, asset integrity solution centre manager, OGTC, said: “We’re looking for deployable robotic technologies for pressure vessel and tank inspections that reduce cost, improve quality, increase efficiency and enhance safety.

“The use of robotics for inspection is developing rapidly across several industries and has the potential to transform the asset integrity performance of oil and gas facilities across the UKCS (UK continental shelf).”

OGTC small pools solution centre manager Chris Pearson added: “Designing plug-and-play subsea equipment for developing marginal oil and gas fields is an opportunity recognised by all exploration and production companies.

“Industries such as nuclear and automotive have proved that plug-and play-technology can significantly reduce life-cycle costs and help create new business models.”

It is hoped the introduction of similarly innovative technology to the offshore sector could “significantly” lower the cost of developing North Sea fields and help maximise economic recovery of the estimated 10-20billion barrels of oil and gas that remain.

Submissions for the two CfIs will be evaluated on criteria including value creation, sound scientific principles, time, cost and risk reduction.

Successful innovators will receive professional guidance, funding and support to develop their ideas towards the next stage of development.

The CfIs are part of OGTC’s Open Innovation programme, which aims to unlock the full potential of the UK North Sea.

Robots: The Future of the Oil Industry

Companies are investing in unmanned, robotic drilling rigs
August 30, 2012, 9:59 PM GMT+1
Illustration by Ted McGrath

NASA’s Mars rover may have something to teach the oil industry. Safely traversing the Red Planet while beaming data through space turns out to have a lot in common with exploring the deepest recesses of earth in search of crude oil and natural gas. Robotic Drilling Systems, a small Norwegian company that’s bent on developing a drilling rig that can think for itself, has signed an information-sharing agreement with NASA to discover what it might learn from Curiosity.

The company’s work is part of a larger futuristic vision for the energy industry. Engineers foresee a day when fully automated rigs roll onto a job site using satellite coordinates, erect 14-story-tall steel reinforcements on their own, drill a well, then pack up and move to the next site. “You’re seeing a new track in the industry emerging,” says Eric van Oort, a former Royal Dutch Shell executive who’s leading a new graduate-level engineering program focused on automated drilling at the University of Texas at Austin. “This is going to blossom.”

A Robotic Drilling Systems Rig
Robotic Drilling Systems, Norway

Apache, National Oilwell Varco, and Statoil are among the companies working on technology that will take humans out of the most repetitive, dangerous, and time-consuming parts of oil field work. “It sounds futuristic,” says Kenneth Sondervik, sales and marketing vice president for Robotic Drilling Systems. He compares it to other areas that have become highly automated, such as auto manufacturing or cruise missile systems.

Until recently, robots have been a bit of a hard sell in an industry that has long relied on human ingenuity, says Mark Reese, president of rig solutions at National Oilwell Varco: “In the past, it’s been all about, ‘We need more and more people and experience, and that’s the only way to accomplish this task.’ ”

The 2010 BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico helped shift attitudes, says Clay Williams, chief financial officer at National Oilwell Varco. Eleven men were killed when the Deepwater Horizon rig caught fire and sank. Statoil has projected that automation may cut in half the number of workers needed on an offshore rig and help complete jobs 25 percent faster, says Steinar Strom, former head of a research and development unit on automation at the Norwegian company.

Robotic Drilling Systems is designing a series of robots to take over the repeatable tasks now done by deckhands, roughnecks, and pipehandlers on a rig. Its blue, 10-foot-tall robot deckhand has a jointed arm that can extend about 10 feet, with 15 or so interchangeable hands of assorted sizes. The robot is anchored in place to give it better leverage as it lifts drill bits that weigh more than a ton and maneuvers them into place. The company is also collaborating with researchers at Stanford University on a three-fingered robot hand embedded with sensors that give it a touch delicate enough to pick up an egg without crushing it.

The Mars rover is designed to collect data and take action on its own based on programmed “reasoning.” As a step in that direction, some companies are working on technology that will make drill bits more intelligent and able to respond instantly to conditions they encounter, such as extreme temperatures or high pressures. National Oilwell Varco and Schlumberger have developed drill pipe wired with high-speed data lines to allow the bit to feed information to workers at the surface. Apache is writing software that will essentially allow the drill bit to think for itself, communicating directly with equipment at the surface that controls speed and direction. Graham Brander, the company’s director of worldwide drilling, sees it working much like a plane on autopilot, flying on its own with a human on standby, ready to assume the controls if necessary. “That’s what I view very much as the automation model for the oil and gas business,” he says.

Other breakthroughs are taking place onshore, where producers are racing to drill tens of thousands of wells in U.S. shale fields. On a recent morning in north Houston, Johnny Alverson, a senior foreman at rig builder Drilling Structures International, fired up an 1,800-horsepower John Deere engine and picked up a remote control box as big as a car battery as he prepared to move a 167-foot-tall drilling rig without the aid of a crane. With the push of a couple of buttons on the remote, the green light lit up next to “walk” and the rig slowly heaved itself up five inches off the ground on four large, flat feet. The $20 million monster can move at a rate of a foot a minute. Says Drilling Structures Executive Vice President P.J. Rivera: “You start to feel good about yourself when you can pick up a million pounds with the flick of a thumb.”


Not yet a member of an offshore trade union, can you afford not to be a member?

Get Protected! Get Active! Get Organised!

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

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

Join Unite today!