TUC sides with offshore unions (UK)
British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) on Monday highlighted the devastating impact the North Sea jobs crisis is having on UK employment at the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
Hundreds of jobs have been axed in the past year across the industry including in the helicopter sector. BALPA emphasized that in one company nearly 40 percent of helicopter pilot jobs in Aberdeen and Shetland are under threat and likely to be lost.
To remind, the association recently called for a ballot on strike action which resulted in an overwhelming support from its members if helicopter companies do not make serious improvements in the way they deal with job losses.
Congress supported a motion calling for concerted campaigns to resist commercial pressures that could erode safety standards and reduce employment and training levels. It called on the TUC to support unions resisting unacceptable changes to working hours, rest and leave entitlement. BALPA along with Nautilus, the RMT and other offshore unions urged the TUC to press the UK Government to adopt measures to protect UK Skills and experience.
Head of Industrial Relations at BALPA, John Moore, said:
“BALPA has witnessed first-hand the devastating impact of the current crisis on our members’ jobs, terms and conditions and careers.
“Our members accept that some of these changes are necessary. However, they oppose the hard-nosed manner in which management is implementing change – with inadequate severance packages, unacceptable selection criteria for redundancy and no proper plan to maintain the North Sea’s high skills base.
“With the oil and gas producers exploiting the crisis and encouraging a crazy “race to the bottom” competition amongst suppliers, the whole process looks and feels more like a fire sale than an intelligent and managed response to a genuine economic problem. Along with Nautilus, the RMT and other offshore unions, we will continue to call on both the Scottish and Westminster governments to start knocking heads together.
“We also share the concerns of other offshore unions over the number one issue – safety. Pilots are already reporting that their ability to sleep and concentrate at work is being affected by the threat hanging over them and their families. As one of our members put it: ‘Do we really want pilots to be worried how their training costs and mortgage will be paid on a dark and stormy night in the North Sea?’”
According to BALPA, the motion for concerted campaigns was passed at congress on Monday.