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Offshore Strike Action Intensifies in UK Sector of the North Sea

Stock Photo: Oil and Gas Photographer/Shutterstock

Offshore Strike Action Intensifies in UK Sector of the North Sea

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1984
May 23, 2023

In a growing dispute concerning job security, wages, and working conditions in the UK offshore sector, the Unite union has announced that approximately 1,650 contractors will engage in two new rounds of 48-hour strike action.

The strikes, set to take place from June 1 to June 3 and from June 8 to June 10, will affect five companies, namely Bilfinger UK Limited, Stork Technical Services, and Sparrows Offshore Services.

The action will involve a wide range of UK-based offshore workers, including electrical, production, and mechanical technicians, as well as deck crew, scaffolders, crane operators, pipefitters, platers, and riggers.

“With the support of their union Unite, an army of 1650 offshore workers are taking the fight to multibillion oil and gas corporations,” said Sharon Graham, Unite’s general secretary. “The latest rounds of strike action in June will see the biggest group of offshore workers to date taking strike action.”

Graham blames “unfettered corporate profiteering” at the expense of workers as the reasoning for the action. “Unite is determined to deliver better jobs, pay and conditions in the offshore sector, and deliver we will,” he said.

The offshore strike action signifies a significant escalation in the ongoing dispute between the contractors and oil and gas operators in the UK sector of the North Sea. The 48-hour strikes are expected to impact major oil and gas operators such as Apache, BP, Harbour Energy, Enquest, Ithaca, Repsol, Shell, and TAQA. It also follows previous rounds of strike action that took place in April and May.

Last week, Unite revealed that approximately 600 Bilfinger contractors on Ithaca, CNRI, and TAQA assets had rejected new pay offers. These workers, along with 200 Bilfinger contractors working on BP and Repsol assets, will participate in the 48-hour stoppages. In addition, approximately 650 Stork offshore members and 200 Sparrows offshore workers will join the strikes in June.

John Boland, Unite industrial officer, argues that union members deserve a larger share of the significant profits being generated by oil and gas operators. “Whether it is over delivering improved pay, fairer and safer working rotas or holidays, Unite has one simple message for the contractors and operators: we will stand up for our members, we hold you to account, and in the end we will win,” he said.

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