Overwhelming vote in favour of strike action demonstrates the fury at Total’s proposals to impose changes to the working practices and conditions on its three platforms.

Workers back on Elginworkers on the Alwyn (pictured), Elgin and Dunbar platforms are balloting on industrial action.

http://www.unitetheunion.org/news/unite-announce-strike-days-on-totals-oil-and-gas-offshore-platforms/

Unite announce strike days on Total’s oil and gas offshore platforms

05 July 2018

Unite the union has today (5 July) announced a series of strike days on the North Sea oil and gas platforms operated by Total E&P. Following the overwhelming mandate for industrial action, there will be a series of 24 hour and 12 hour stoppages on the three platforms affected (Alwyn, Dunbar and Elgin), all of which will be forced to cease production.

There will also be a continuous ban on overtime commencing at 00.01 hours on 23 July. The dispute concerns the company’s wage review and its plans to force workers to increase their offshore working time. A report by Robert Gordon University identified that workers on three-week, equal-time rotas were nearly twice as likely to experience ill health as those on two-on-two-off shifts. The three on/three off rota pattern is now worked by 56 per cent of the workforce offshore, compared with just 17 per cent working the same pattern in 2007.

24 Hour Stoppages
• Starting at 06.00 hours on 23 July, 6 August and 20 August.

12 Hour Stoppages
• Starting at 12.00 hours on 30 July and 13 August.

Unite regional officer Wullie Wallace said: “The overwhelming vote in favour of strike action demonstrates the fury at Total’s proposals to impose changes to the working practices and conditions on its three platforms. There remains a closing window of opportunity for Total to behave responsibly and engage with Unite to revise its current offer. However, if Total does not wish to negotiate, then the company will be left in no uncertain terms of the strength of feeling of Unite members which will lead to widespread disruption of the company’s operations.”

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Pictured is Willie Wallace (Unite regional Officer) at the press conference at Unite The Union, King Street, Aberdeen. Picture by DARRELL BENNS Pictured on 10/04/2018

 

Unite members employed at Total’s Shetland gas plant have also voted for industrial action in a dispute over changes to their rota system.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information contact Wullie Wallace on 01224645271 or 07712444952.

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.


Offshore trade union Unite has announced that strikes will go ahead on three of French oil giant Total’s North Sea rigs in a dispute over pay and working hours.

The Alwyn, Dunbar and Elgin platforms will see workers down tools in a series of 24 hour and 12 hour strikes.

Unite said in a statement that a continuous ban on overtime will also take place commencing at 00.01 hours on 23 July.

The 24 hour stoppages will begin at 06.00 hours on 23 July, 6 August and 20 August with the 12 hour stoppages starting at 12.00 hours on 30 July and 13 August.

Unite regional officer Wullie Wallace said: “The overwhelming vote in favour of strike action demonstrates the fury at Total’s proposals to impose changes to the working practices and conditions on its three platforms.

“There remains a closing window of opportunity for Total to behave responsibly and engage with Unite to revise its current offer. However, if Total does not wish to negotiate, then they will be left in no uncertain terms of the strength of feeling of Unite members which will lead to widespread disruption of the company’s operations.”

The dispute centres on a wage review outlined by Total and concerns that it may force workers to increase offshore working time.

Jean-Luc Guiziou, Managing Director of Total E&P UK, said: “Our workforce at the Shetland Gas Plant and on the Elgin, Alwyn and Dunbar platforms do a very good job and we will do our best to work towards a resolution of this dispute. I know from talking to our workforce that we can find a negotiated solution.

Jean Luc total

“We have started a structured process of meetings and workshops that will hopefully allow us to reach a consensus.  By moving to a 3/3 rota, we’ll be in a much stronger place to grow our business and increase operational excellence.

“Our objective is to seek a rota system that both enhances overall safety and is the most efficient – in this way we will ensure the long term sustainability of our business in the North Sea.

“I also believe that we will only move forward together, so I look forward to a constructive dialogue with our offshore staff and their representatives.”

Last week, Unite said workers on the three rigs had voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of strike action, while providing a 100% “mandate” for industrial action short of strike.

Tensions were raised last week when Total decided to increase security after a week of rancour with staff concerning a wage review, feared changes to shift patterns and anger over the firm’s plans to hold a barbecue in the midst of redundancies.

In an internal release to staff on Friday, Total said it would introduce “security measures” at its headquarters in Westhill, Crawpeel House in Aberdeen, Shetland Gas Plant and its warehouses and quayside.

 


 

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

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Piper Alpha: Offshore employers haven’t learned the lesson, trade union boss says

Written by  – 

Unite Scottish Secretary Pat Rafferty

Pat Rafferty, Scottish Secretary of the Unite trade union, says he does not believe employers have learned enough from the disaster.

In fact he fears things are now heading in the wrong direction from the perspective of worker safety.

The Cullen report “should have led to significant changes in the oil and gas sector that would protect workers in the future and make the industry safer,” he says.

“Instead, 30 years on, we have witnessed an industry that is driven increasingly by cost reductions, with corners and jobs being cut to save money.

“What is more disgraceful is that we now know that Piper Alpha could have been avoided.

“The accident was caused by cost-driven decisions. And when costs become more important than safety, Piper Alpha shows that the result can be catastrophic.

“Unite remembers those that were lost on Piper Alpha. They serve as a reminder that corners must never be cut and that the job done by workers in the North Sea is one of the most dangerous around. But we also remember those who were left.”

He cites the ongoing concerns of a survivor who told him he wanted to remain anonymous “for fear of being blacklisted under Not Required Back (NRB).”

“This is where workers who raise issues around health and safety find there is no more work for them”, said Mr Rafferty.

“This fear of speaking out is another damning indictment of the culture which still exists and shows employers have learned little from Lord Cullen’s report.

“As a young man just starting his career offshore, he was working on the Sedco 714 Semi Sub Drilling Unit the night tragedy struck.

“He recalls radio communications coming out over the airwave channels and everyone tuned in to listen for updates on Piper Alpha and this still haunts him.

“He can recall friends lost. His own neighbour lost her husband, which left their children without a father. Partners, husbands, fathers, grandfathers and brothers, all lost.

“The tragedy has left a lasting legacy.

“The sad thing is he believes it could happen again.

“He speaks about a lack of communication today. Of low morale and the intense work pressures that are leading to safety-critical work being missed. But we now have an added risk: inexperience.

“The loss of so many experienced workers; some who died that day, others who have left the industry either through redundancy or because they are disillusioned about the way the industry is going, has created a tier of workers with less experience of dealing with the everyday pressures of such a safety-critical and harsh industry.”

That situation, he believes, is being further worsened by the recent introduction of three-weeks-on and three-weeks-off shift rotas.

He said: “That will only add to the pressures on workers.

“A recent report by Robert Gordon University for the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) highlights the mental and physical exhaustion felt by those on the newer three-week shifts.

“It also raised concerns about the impact on workers’ wellbeing, and blamed the change for making health issues worse.

“We must never forget the lessons of Piper Alpha.

“But 30 years on, we should have learned something and it doesn’t look like offshore employers have.

“The Workers’ Memorial Day has a strapline: remember the dead, fight for the living. We do remember; we will never forget.

“But we must also continuhttps://www.facebook.com/UniteDemandBackHomeSafe/e the fight to make sure the industry is as safe as it can possibly be to ensure workers can return home at the end of their shift.”

Back Home Safe 

 


Unites  Back Home Safe  campaign is an ongoing campaign to improve on offshore sectors health & Safety  https://www.facebook.com/UniteDemandBackHomeSafe/

 

Not yet in a union ? Join Unite the Offshore Union today –  Get protected, Get Active, Get Organised, ://www.unitetheunion.org/growing-our-union/joinunite/

Health & Safety offshore  is an issue that  affects everyone  the best way to improve  terms & conditions in any workplace is to have union trained and appointed  safety reps,,

It may be time to lohttp://www.unitetheunion.org/growing-our-union/joinunite/ok at introducing trade union trained  Health &Safety reps into the #North Sea to add value to the already established high safety regulations and protocols that are already in place.  You can never have too much safety as the workers deserve it.

 

Total steps up security against protests

 

total 4

French oil giant Total will step up security at its north-east facilities amid protest concerns after a week of high-profile disputes with staff over pay and hours, which resulted in a vote in favour of strike action.

Total’s decision to increase security comes after a week of rancour with staff concerning a wage review, feared changes to shift patterns and anger over the firm’s plans to hold a barbecue in the midst of redundancies.

In an internal release to staff yesterday, Total said it would introduce “security measures” at its headquarters in Westhill, Crawpeel House in Aberdeen, Shetland Gas Plant and its warehouses and quayside.

The letter said security stationed at Total sites will “remain vigilant” to “ensure any potential protest remains peaceful”.

Last night a trade union spokesman branded the decision “ridiculous” and called Total’s proposed actions “disrespectful” to staff.

Unite regional officer John Boland said: “It seems like they’re expecting us to storm the buildings or something. We haven’t even put in the industrial action notices yet.

“This seems to be an overreaction by Total.

“Between this and the barbecue announcement the other day, they really seem all over the place.”

Total refused to comment yesterday but the decision is thought to centre on protest threats made by political activists on social media over the last few days.

The French firm intends to switch schedules from two weeks on, three weeks off, to three on, three off.

It is also making around 300 onshore staff members redundant as part of the process of integrating Maersk Oil, a recent acquisition.

Much of the anger from workers has been directed at Total’s new UK boss, Jean-Luc Guiziou, who unions blame for a perceived attempt to force through changes to wages and working hours.

 

Jean Luc total

Jean-Luc Guiziou

 

 

 

 

 

Asked if offshore workers unions are planning protests at Total sites, Mr Boland  Unite the Union regional officer said: “As of now we have got no protest planned at Total facilities.

“Certainly, if we did have any protests planned, we would go through the normal procedures such as informing the police.

“The last thing we would do is put anybody at risk.

“Again, I think it’s a bit disrespectful. It’s maybe the French way of doing things, I don’t know.”

JB 1

John Boland Unite Regional Officer

 

 

 

 

 


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