Unite the Union


Supporting the Offshore Workforce

We the Trade Union’s (TU’s) representing oil and gas workers continue to have significant
concerns about the current situation around the operation of the H225 and ‘Super Puma’
type aircraft in the North Sea and the first of these is the way in which the regulators have
gone about this announcement. We’ve been told repeatedly the “Offshore Helicopter Safety
Leadership Group” (OHSLG) would be the forum through which all communications would
be developed. Even in the email on Friday morning 7th July calling for the ‘extraordinary
meeting’ in Stavanger, the CAA talk about holding a; “summit on the 225 to update all
parties”. However, the CAA then put out a press statement embargoed until 20.00 on that
Friday night telling all parties what they’ve decided! What’s the point of having a meeting to
“update” anyone?
This apparent rush to release a statement without engagement of OHSLG and the timing of
the release also give cause for concern. The only conclusion we can reach about the way
this has been handled is that a commercial imperative exists and is taking precedence over
appropriate engagement and consultation with the most important group in this situation, the
offshore workforce. We shouldn’t have to remind the regulators and manufacturer, but the
facts around “Super Puma” type aircraft are the most important issues to our constituents so
we will; this aircraft type has been in the sea 6-times in little over 8-years; 65 people have
been rescued from the sea; 33 people have been killed; and we still don’t have a root cause
for the Norwegian tragedy! This is therefore a seriously important issue for our constituents.
The timing of the CAA announcement is also being linked to the questionable ‘survey’ being
run by Airbus. This survey has been widely criticised by workers, but the fact Airbus are
refusing to allow independent assessment of the survey findings and to have these findings
released publicly is only fuelling scepticism about the actions of Airbus. This scepticism has
been made all the worse since the CAA release on July 7th.
As TU’s, we fully support the principal of workforce engagement and we feel that Airbus and
the regulators have fundamentally failed in this. We (the TU’s) therefore find ourselves at
odds with both Airbus and the regulators. As we see it, there is only one way to remedy this
situation and that is a comprehensive and meaningful engagement exercise of offshore
workers. We will therefore be requesting that all North Sea oil companies commence a
structured and consistent survey of workers about this aircraft type. Until such an
engagement exercise has been completed, the position of the TU’s representing oil and gas workers will be that our members refuse to fly.
Additionally, and as a consequence of the CAA actions, we will be renewing calls for the
inquiry proposed after the UK Transport Select Committee’s recommendations in 2014/15.
We will also convene an early Offshore Coordinating Group meeting to discuss the
continued TU membership representation on the OHSLG, as clearly with such an impasse
our participation is now questionable.

Health & Safety around Offshore Helicopters is No accident, Unite and the RMT  Trade Unions demand the highest safety standards and training for all who work on and travel in the  Offshore helicopter fleet.Get Protected! Get Organised! Get Active!

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

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