EASA orders checks on North Sea chopper amid explosion fears

AW189

EASA orders checks on North Sea chopper amid explosion fears

Written by  – 18/07/2017 11:13 am Source Energy Voice

An AugustaWestland AW189 helicopter

An aviation watchdog has ordered modifications to be made to North Sea helicopters amid fears they could explode.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has ordered the checks on the AW189 models of aircraft.

It comes after a review of the underbelly fuel tank found that a lightning strike could create an ignition source in the fuel tank vapour space.

According to EASA, this flaw could result in a “fuel tank fire or explosion”.

As of July 2017, there are three AW189s operating on the UK continental shelf, according to Oil and Gas UK.

The EASA Airworthiness Directive states that the safety issues relates to the electrical bonding installed on the fuel sump plate.

The report states: “The underbelly tank fuel sumps and the fuiel sump covers are bonded to the external helicopter skin in the same location.

“In case of a lightning strike, a fraction of the electrical current may be diverted inside the sump plate and therefore flowing into the electrical wiring, connected to the components installed inside the fuel tanks.

“This condition, if not corrected, could, under certain conditions, create an ignition source in the fuel tank vapour space, possibly resulting in a fuel tank fire or explosion.”

The grounding of the North Sea fleet during lightning storms is common industry practice due to the dangers associated with flying in unsafe weather as well as the phenomenon of “triggered lightning”.

The Met Office has previously carried out extensive research into incidents where helicopters have caused lightning strikes during the winter season.

Research revealed that strikes are believed to happen when helicopters acquire a negative charge during flight and fly close to a positively charged cloud.

The aircraft manufacturer, Italian firm Leonardo, has provided instructions for modification of the electrical bonding and re-routing of the existing copper straps with bonding cables..

The changes must be carried out within 300 flight hours.

Leonardo has been contacted for comment.

 

 

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Unite the Union Back Home Safe Petition 2017 Do Not reintroduce the Airbus H225s and AS332s  – L2s airframes in commercial operations in the UKCS

back-home-safe-unite-150x150

                                                  Unite the Union Back Home Safe Petition 2017

Do Not reintroduce the Airbus H225s and AS332s   L2s airframes in commercial operations in the UKCS

 
As a direct result of Unite the union members working  in the offshore Oi& Gas sector raising their  serious concerns in relation to the reintroduction of the Airbus Superpuma H225LP and AS332 L2 helicopters Unite  is running a petition the ‘Back Home Safe 2017 `campaign to demonstrate the offshore workers and families and the general publics  no – confidence in these airframes.
 
  • Our petition calls for all stakeholders to back the non-reintroduction and the permanent cessation of commercial operations in the UKCS.
  • Please sign our  on – line  petition and  if you wish hard copies  or to assist in the campaign (please let us know contact details below)
The Link to the Survey Monkey  –  Unite Back Home Safe 2017 petition; for all offshore Oil  & Gas workers their families and the general public to sign and show their support for the campaign Not to  re – Introduce the Airbus superpuma 225s
 
Do Not reintroduce the Airbus H225s and AS332s  L2s airframes in commercial operations in the UKCS
https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/FW6Y8KG   please distribute as appropriate
 
 
 
Unite members have a vital role in making this campaign a success. Together we need to show that workers will not accept a return ‘business as usual ` and will express a vote of no – confidence in the Airbus Superpuma  225s  airframes.
 
Unite members have told us, their Health & Safety is paramount in the offshore sector. We are asking our members and all offshore workers and their families and the general public to visibly support this campaign and future health and safety campaigns in the industry.
 
To win, you will need to show publicly your support and you will need to build the campaign through speaking to your colleagues, gaining their support and asking them to play an active role. Thirty thousand workers are employed in the UK Oil & Gas Industry; thirty thousand voices united will not be ignored.
 
If, you have any questions or would like to assist in the campaign please e mail uniteoffshore@gmail.com
 
Offshore helicopter safety is no accident  Unite the union the largest trade union offshore in the Oil &Gas Sector  demands  the highest standard of  training and health &Safety for all who work on and travel in and fly on commercial offshore helicopter operations
 
 

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North Sea goodbye for Super Pumas as Bristow returns two to leasing group

Bristows

North Sea goodbye for Super Pumas as Bristow returns two to leasing group

Written by  – 18/07/2017 4:32 pm

15894392_1390252534327364_1210997835337891726_n EC225s Bristows
EC225

A North Sea helicopter operator is preparing to send controversial offshore choppers back to the leasing company.

Super Puma EC225s have been banned from flying in the UK since a fatal crash off Norway last year, that killed 13 people including Iain Stuart from Laurencekirk.

But in a move that caught industry by surprise, aviation watchdogs paved a way to a possible return by lifting flight restrictions earlier this month, with certain safety caveats.

The was met with anger and frustration from workforce representatives who claim that offshore workers have made their feelings towards the aircraft.

Unions want a public inquiry into a string of North Sea accidents involving the Airbus manufactured Super Pumas.

They claim to be getting by using alternative helicopters.

Several supermajors including Royal Dutch Shell have also ruled out using the helicopters again in UK operations.

Others companies such as BP are waiting until a root cause of the Norway accident is identified and public confidence restored.

Bristow and fellow chopper operator Babcock have not ruled using the Super Pumas again in the future.

A return to service is subject to a testing regime and a safety case.

CHC Helicopters said that the firm did not have any Super Pumas in its UK fleet.

Two of Bristow’s Super Pumas were rolled out onto the tarmac at Aberdeen Airport yesterday after a lengthy mothballing.

However rather than signalling their return, Bristow said it is preparing to send them back to the owners.

It is unclear if the move is connected to recent developments or if the leases were due up. Bristow has been asked to provide clarification.

A spokesperson for Bristow said: “Bristow can confirm that it is preparing two of its UK registered EC225 aircraft for their planned return to the leasing company. Bristow will also return two of its Australian-registered aircraft later this fiscal year.

“Bristow engineers are currently carrying out redelivery work at the Aberdeen base to bring the two UK aircraft, which have been in storage, back to full serviceability as per the lease redelivery requirements.

“Bristow continues to suspend all operation of its EC225s until the company is confident that the aircraft can operate safely.”

Unite regional industrial officer Tommy Campbell reiterated their support for any members of the workforce who refused to fly in a Super Puma.

He said: “We will support the offshore workforce in their refusal to get aboard the super pumas.

“It’s so disappointing that the decision to lift the ban on the super pumas has been made without knowing the root cause of the accident in Norway last year.

“The workforce are stressed enough with working in a dangerous and hostile environment without the added upset and stress of knowing that the helicopters that have caused the deaths of so many offshore workers are being returned to the UK and Norwegian oil and gas sectors.”

 

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Norwegian TV company – TV2 documentary on the Airbus Superpuma fatal accident inTurøy April 2016 with English subtitles. 

hub310 Norwegian TV company – TV2 documentary on the Airbus Superpuma fatal accident inTurøy April 2016  with English subtitles

The link   “Last Trip” Documentary
https://wetransfer.com/downloads/fed21c93ee79a5b3bf317e3880c2261220170713064351/1e90fd0245b3e44b15bf11d1dcd835b820170713064351/04f1f5

Restrictions on H225LP and AS332L2 Super Puma helicopters to be lifted

  • UK and Norwegian regulators announce their intention for removal of restrictions that prevent operators using the helicopters
  • The move follows extensive investigation, testing and changes to the helicopter and its maintenance
  • Flights will not resume immediately
  • Helicopter had already been cleared to fly by the European Aviation Safety Agency in October 2016

The UK and Norwegian aviation authorities have today set out plans for the lifting of operating restrictions on H225LP and AS332L2 helicopters. The restrictions were imposed following the fatal accident of a H225 near Turøy in Norway in April 2016. The two helicopter types, popularly known as Super Pumas, were restricted from being used commercially by UK and Norwegian operators.

Both the UK Civil Aviation Authority and the Civil Aviation Authority of Norway have remained in close contact with the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA); UK and Norwegian operators; and with the manufacturer, Airbus Helicopters which has developed the modifications and enhanced safety measures for the type. Despite the helicopter being released back into service by EASA in October 2016, the restrictions remain in place in the UK and Norway until these further enhancements have been made.

Changes and modifications made to the helicopter and its maintenance by Airbus Helicopters include:

  • Change in the design by removal of the components that were susceptible to premature deterioration.
  • Earlier replacement of components
  • Design change to introduce an improved maintenance inspection method to detect any deterioration at an early stage.
  • More frequent inspections
  • Reduction in the thresholds for rejecting components based upon early signs of any deterioration.

The UK CAA said that helicopters will not begin flying immediately. A plan of checks, modifications and inspections needs to be undertaken before any flights take place. It will also be for operators and their customers to decide whether they wish to re-introduce the helicopters to service. In order to resume operations individual operators will need to supply safety cases to ensure that they have all the necessary measures (procedures, processes, tooling and training) in place for a return to service.

Explaining the decision John McColl, Head of Airworthiness at the UK CAA, said: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly. It has only been made after receiving extensive information from the Norwegian accident investigators and being satisfied with the subsequent changes introduced by Airbus Helicopters through detailed assessment and analysis.

“The safety of those who travel on offshore helicopter flights is a key priority for both the UK and Norwegian aviation authorities. We would not have made this decision unless we were convinced that the changes to the helicopters and their maintenance restore the required airworthiness standards.

“We continue to work with the helicopter operators, the offshore industries, international regulators, unions and pilot representatives to enhance offshore safety standards still further and all these parties are actively involved in ongoing discussions.”

For more information contact the CAA press office on 0207 453 6030

https://www.caa.co.uk/News/Restrictions-on-H225LP-and-AS332L2-Super-Puma-helicopters-to-be-lifted/

Airbus Super Puma helicopters involved in a series of crashes and other safety incidents have had clearance from UK   & Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)

UK and Norway plan to lift a ban on offshore flights using two types of Super Puma helicopters, 17 months after a fatal crash in Norway.

UK  Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said on Friday (07/ 07/2017)both countries intended to lift national restrictions that remained in place after European authorities declared the helicopters safe to fly last October.

Europe grounded the H225LP and AS332L2 helicopters, built by Airbus Helicopters, after 13 passengers and crew were killed when the rotors flew off their aircraft in April last year.

The decision to extend the safety clearance to Britain and Norway follows “extensive investigation, testing and changes to the helicopter and its maintenance,” the CAA said in a statement.

Flights will not resume immediately, however.

“A plan of checks, modifications and inspections needs to be undertaken before any flights take place,” the CAA said.

“It will also be for operators and their customers to decide whether they wish to re-introduce the helicopters to service”

Norwegian oil company Statoil said in December it would stop using H225 Super Puma helicopters for good.

Link:https://www.reuters.com/article/us-airbus-helicopters-britain-norway-idUSKBN19S2RD

Unite the Union Trade

https://wordpress.com/post/uniteoffshore2015.org/7182

Unite the Union members working offshore, have significant safety concerns on the reintroduction of the Airbus Superpuma and have lost all confidence in this airframe and they are strongly opposed to their return, and they still believe the Superpuma variants should be discontinued from commercial operations in the North Sea.

Some Major Oil companies including Shell, BP and Statoil have expressed the view that they will not be using the Airbus Superpumas in the both short and long term future.

Link  https://www.energyvoice.com/oilandgas/north-sea/144282/bp-rules-super-puma-return-norway-crash-cause-uncovered/

Oil & Gas UK

July 7, 2017

Deirdre Michie, chief executive of Oil & Gas UK, said:

“We note the Civil Aviation Authority’s announcement of plans to lift the restrictions in place on the H225LP and AS332L2 Airbus helicopters.

This announcement does not mean an immediate return to service of these helicopters in the UK and it will be for individual oil and gas companies to decide if they consider doing so. This will require a robust Safety Case, as well as required monitoring and modifications to allow flying.

The safety of the offshore workforce is of paramount importance to the industry and we understand the strong feelings and opinions surrounding this matter. There is an ongoing consultation being held by Airbus regarding these helicopters for pilots and passengers and we would encourage all of the workforce involved to provide input so that any concerns can be addressed.

We will continue to work closely on helicopter safety with the workforce, industry and regulators going forwards.”

http://oilandgasuk.co.uk/statement-in-response-to-caa-announcement-on-lifting-of-restrictions-on-super-puma-helicopters/

 

  • Search tv2.no:

  • Sumo

 

http://www.tv2.no/a/9233710

Norway cancels flight ban for Super Puma helicopters

3:21

July 14 repealed grounding for Super Puma models in Norway. CAA has received approval for all security requirements.

Long-lasting 14 months after Turøy accident nullify CAA-fly zone for the two Super Puma models that are sitting on the ground in Norway.

This happens after the Norwegian aviation authorities have received approval for a number of safety requirements.

– Friday 14th July repealed flight ban, says Lars Kobberstad, director of the Civil Aviation Authority to TV 2.

Both Norway and Britain have demanded fly for two models, and all were 44 helicopters sitting on the ground in the aftermath Turøy accident.

For CAA has two things played an important role before it was appropriate to repeal the no-fly:

– One is to reduce the likelihood as much as possible that there may be fatigue fracture of the planetary gears. The other goes on to increase the likelihood that, if it does occur a failure is detected as early as possible, explains Kobberstad.

 Norwegian Trade Union Disappointed

Henrik S. Fjeldsbø, which is helicopter expert in associated Industri Energi, believes there is very little confidence that the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority now choose to follow the European air father’s government its tracks and repeal flight ban until the root cause is found.

– We are very disappointed that the civil aviation authorities decide to suspend the no-fly when the root cause Turøy accident has not yet been found, says Fjeldsbø, leader of Industri Energi his helicopter range, in a statement on the federation’s website .

– As long as you do not know the underlying reason why one of the planetary gear in the helicopter’s gearbox broke and the error has been corrected, so should not the helicopters being used again on the Norwegian continental shelf, says Fjeldsbø.

– Understands the bereaved

Kobberstad says he understands that some travelers and survivors Turøy accident believes it is wrong with the Super Puma in the air again. 

– It sits many survivors who have lost their loved ones and for these, this is a heavy and difficult issue. In addition, there are several thousand employees in the North Sea using helicopter transport to and from work, and for these, perhaps confidence in this type of helicopter weakened, says Kobberstad to TV2.

Aviation Director has great understanding that there are still many unanswered questions and that there is considerable uncertainty as to the type of helicopter.

– Authorities in Norway have to make decisions based on facts and analysis, we mean that we have done in this case here. Now we believe that it is safe to fly this helicopter type, explains Kobberstad.

Tightened security in the world

The requirements CAA has now received approval for being applicable worldwide.

Norway says no to controversial helicopter EU regulations

Norway says no to controversial helicopter EU regulations

What do you think you have been able to influence helicopter safety in the whole world?

– CAA is concerned with aviation safety. If we can help ensure that it is better both in Norway and the rest of the world, so we are very pleased with it.

The reason Turøyulykken, as well as an accident in 2009, was fatigue crack in a gear.

A problem TV2 recently described security system to expose metal shavings and fragments in the gearbox, which may stem from parts that are about to be broken. The system could only capture 12%. This is now improved so that detection rate is increased to fifty percent.

– If it comes, for example, a hundred particles into giroljesystemet, then half of these particles – fifty percent – get caught up. This coupled with other security measures, we believe that this sum is sufficient and good enough, says Kobberstad.

– Will follow closely

The sketch shows the installed magnetic detector which is new.  It is newly designed and precisely certified by EASA.  It has a substantially higher efficiency than other detectors. & Nbsp;
The sketch shows the installed magnetic detector which is new. It is newly designed and precisely certified by EASA. It has a substantially higher efficiency than other detectors. 

In October lifted the EU’s air safety agency EASA flight ban in the EU for both Super Puma models, EC 225 that crashed at Turøy and AS332 L2 that crashed in 2009.

The new magnetic plug.
The new magnetic plug.

The CAA said this was wrong. Now Norwegian aviation authorities received approval for additional security requirements that totally makes you think the type of helicopter can fly again. But Kobberstad says that it will closely follow up with checks in retrospect, to see that the requirements are fulfilled.

– Now is the detection rate to detect metal shavings in the gearbox 50 percent, how can it be good enough? 

– The sum of measures in addition to this, we believe that this is safe, explains Kobberstad.

Got fired

The supplier of gears snapped, both in 2016 on Turøy and outside the UK in 2009, has now been replaced. Contractor who now manufactures and supplies gear to the two Super Puma models, has no registered gears breach earlier.

Moreover, Norway has received approval for the life of the gears is greatly reduced to 1100 flying hours for one model board at Turøy and 1,650 flight hours for the older Super Puma model.

Moreover, the maximum size for metal fragments in girbokoljen greatly reduced, as is the extent of metal fragments. Overall believes the CAA that this is sufficient.

You have previously disagreed with EASA. EASA has been to relax, or you too strict?

Knew warning system had major weaknesses

NEW INFORMATION ABOUT TURØY-CRASH:

Knew warning system had major weaknesses

– I am very pleased with the cooperation we have had with EASA as it has evolved, says Kobberstad.

CAA has stood their ground and refused to abolish the no-fly zone twice. First, in October last year and then in March 2017, when EASA believed that these measures were not sufficient to abolish the flight ban in Norway.

Now it’s words on July 14.

Strong emotions when divers were to search for the wreck outside Turøy

Strong emotions when divers were to search for the wreck outside Turøy

Wednesday 26 . Apr . 2017 | News
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North Sea industry ‘getting by’ without Super Pumas

 

 

225

Written by  – 17/07/2017 6:55 am

Airbus Super Puma H225M

A group created to address North Sea helicopter capacity concerns has not met in more than five months because the oil sector “hasn’t got a pan-industry issue”.

The Helicopter Resilience Technical Group (HRTG) met at the start of February to discuss potential solutions in the event of a critical North Sea aircraft shortage.

The group, primarily made up of logistics managers from oil and gas operators, was expected to meet on a monthly basis at first.

But industry body Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) said the group had not gathered since, because none of its members had reported any problems.

Mick Borwell, health, safety and environment policy director at OGUK, said the group would only get together if a problem affecting the entire sector came up.

Mr Borwell said: “We’ve not been made aware of any individual operator’s issues.

“We come into play when there is a pan-industry issue that needs to be dealt with.

“Individual operators may well be having issues that they then resolve with their own helicopter operator. We normally don’t hear about those.

“So, on that basis, operators are continuing to manage safe helicopter operations.”

Mr Borwell added: “We haven’t got a pan-industry issue, so the group hasn’t met.”

OGUK approved the group’s formation after Sikorsky S92 helicopters were recalled on January 10 for checks.

The inspections were ordered after one of the aircraft experienced problems while landing on the West Franklin platform on December 28.

The reduction in capacity caused delays in taking workers to and from rigs for a couple of days, though stormy weather conditions were also a factor.

The recall raised concerns about North Sea industry’s ability to cope if S92s were taken out of service for a long period of time.

The sector has been heavily reliant on Sikorsky S92s since Super Puma 225s were grounded following a fatal crash in Norway last year.

All 13 people on board the copter were killed, including 41-year-old Iain Stuart of Laurencekirk.

But last week UK and Norwegian aviation authorities lifted flight bans on 225s.

The move will allow the aircraft to return to service if they meet certain requirements.

Since then, a number of oil and gas operators have said they would not use Airbus-made Super Pumas, at least until a root cause of the crash off Norway is found.

Offshore Co-ordinating Group vice chairman Jake Molloy said the response from operators and the lack of action from the HRTG showed North Sea industry could cope without Super Pumas.

Mr Molloy said: “Industry is getting by at this moment in time and has been for more than a year.

“And with new models that are coming, we should be able to continue to manage.

“But that’s to be discussed in future with those who matter most − the workforce.

“We will be engaging with them where others have failed.”

Read: Unions stand fast against flying in Super Pumas, calls for public inquiry

Mr Borwell said Super Pumas were an option that individual operators would have to consider alongside their workforces.

He also said the aircraft would not make an instant return.

“There’s a lot of work to be done before the Super Puma could come back into service,” Mr Borwell said.

“The pilot’s might require refresher training. There’s a lot of maintenance to be done on the aircraft because they’ve been sitting around and they’d have to be brought up to the spec that the CAA mentioned.”

Last week, BP ruled out using Super Pumas until a root cause for last year’s crash has been identified.

Shell also said it had no plans to start using the aircraft again.

 

 

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LIFTING OF BAN RESTRICTIONS ON ‘SUPER PUMA’ TYPE AIRCRAFT

Unite the Union

RMT

GMB
Supporting the Offshore Workforce

UNITE-the-union-Logormt-logo1gmb
LIFTING OF BAN RESTRICTIONS ON ‘SUPER PUMA’ TYPE AIRCRAFT
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.
ENDS.


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!

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Unions, OCA set for further talks on North Sea workers’ pay

images (2)

Written by Mark Lammey – 13/07/2017 6:28 pm

The Offshore Contractors’ Association (OCA) will meet trade unions again next week for more talks aimed at ending a dispute over pay for North Sea workers.

Officials from the OCA and the GMB, Unite and RMT unions got around the negotiating table today, but have yet to hammer out an agreement.

The meetings were called after a series ballots failed to provide a legal mandate for strike action.

The unions said a majority of workers had backed a walkout, but legal requirements for staging a strike were not satisfied.

At least 50% of eligible members must vote in favour of industrial action for a strike to go ahead.

Once the results were in, the OCA invited unions for fresh talks.

In a joint statement, OCA chief executive Paul Atkinson and Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell said today: “We have now taken part in further talks. Both parties continue to approach these discussions in an open and constructive manner.

“As a result we have agreed to meet again next week in order to make further progress.”

Officials from union and the OCA, which represents nine companies, including Amec Foster Wheeler, Petrofac and Wood Group PSN, have met numerous times to try to resolve the situation.

Unions have argued for better terms workers, including a wage increase, along with improved sick pay and paid travel time.

The OCA came up with an offer to increase pay by 2%, but it was rejected by workers.

Mr Atkinson said two weeks ago that the offer was still on the table.

 

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