UK offshore workers vote for strike action over pay dispute

UK offshore workers have voted for strike action in last week’s ballot, but unions don’t have the numbers to support it. 

Namely, members of the GMB union working for employers within the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) on Friday voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action over pay and conditions dispute with the employers.

The OCA represents nine companies: AMEC Foster Wheeler, Aker Offshore Partner, Brand Energy & Infrastructure Services UK, Cape PLC, Muehlhan Industrial Services Ltd, Petrofac Facilities Management, Sparrows Offshore Services, Stork Technical Services, and Wood Group PSN.

GMB and Unite the union are seeking a wage increase for offshore members, along with improved sick pay and paid travel time.

Ross Murdoch, GMB National Officer, said: “GMB has long been saying that our members have got to the stage where enough is enough and this ballot result clearly sends a message to the OCA and their clients that they are sick to the back teeth of being down the pecking order in terms of the industries priorities.

“Our members have now decided that unless the OCA comes back to the table with an improved offer they are prepared to take industrial action.

“GMB members have played their part over the past few years seeing thousands of job losses and pay freezes and quite rightly want the offshore industry to recognize the sacrifices they have made.

“We have written to our members and to the employers today setting out the ballot results in full and will now consult on the next steps.”

Unite the Union Regional Officer, Tommy Campbell, said over the weekend: “An overwhelming majority of Unite offshore workers voted for strike action but there is no legal mandate for the action. This is because the Tory anti-union laws required a 50% threshold of all union members to be met.

“Although there has been a democratic engagement with our union members over the past few months we will be unable to organize any strike action.

“We will now continue with our discussions with other unions – GMB and RMT – about how best to progress the ongoing concerns of offshore workers in light of the ballot result.”

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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