Shropshire Star

North Sea oil and gas operators warned of ‘tsunami’ of industrial unrest

Unite said 1,400 offshore workers are set to take strike action.

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Oil rigs in Cromarty Firth

Oil and gas operators in the North Sea are being warned of a “tsunami “ of industrial unrest after workers voted to strike over jobs, pay and conditions.

Unite said around 1,400 of its members in a number of companies operating in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) are involved in the dispute.

The union warned that platforms and offshore installations will be brought to a “standstill” due to the specialised roles its members undertake.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Oil and gas companies have been given free rein to enjoy massive windfall profits in the North Sea; drilling concessions are effectively licences to print money.

“1,400 offshore workers are now set to take strike action against these employers who are raking it in but refusing to give them a fair share of the pie. This will create a tsunami of industrial unrest in the offshore sector.

“Unite will support these members every step of the way in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

The prospective action includes electrical, production and mechanical technicians in addition to deck crew, scaffolders, crane operators, pipefitters, platers and riggers.

John Boland, Unite industrial officer, added: “Unite has received unprecedented support in favour of industrial action in the UK Continental Shelf. It is the biggest mandate we have received in a generation in the offshore sector.

“There is no doubt that this is directly linked to oil and gas companies reaping record profits while the workforce gets scraps from the table.

“Unite’s members are angry at the corporate greed being shown by offshore operators and contractors. Now these major global companies are set to face the consequences as dozens of offshore platforms will be brought to a standstill in a matter of weeks.”

No dates have yet been set for industrial action.

Greenpeace UK’s head of climate, Mel Evans, said: “The greed is almost palpable. Oil and gas workers have been hung out to dry, while their bosses and shareholders have raked in tens of billions of pounds over the past year.

“It’s no wonder they’re taking industrial action to demand a proper windfall tax on these obscene profits, and we stand in solidarity with them.

“Instead of encouraging fossil fuel companies to continue to exploit their workers, the planet and bill payers, it’s time the Government got serious about the transition away from oil and gas and towards a clean, green renewable future, putting the interests of workers and their communities at its very heart.”

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