Offshore Workers Reach Deal to Avoid Strike on BP’s UK North Sea Platforms

BP's Clair Ridge platform in the UK North Sea. Photo courtesy BP

Offshore Workers Reach Deal to Avoid Strike on BP’s UK North Sea Platforms

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March 21, 2023

Offshore workers employed by Sparrows Offshore Services have successfully negotiated a deal, ending planned strike action that was scheduled for later this Spring at BP platforms in the UK North Sea, the Unite union announced today.

The deal secures an additional three weeks of paid leave on BP assets, equivalent to a 10% pay increase.

The deal covers nearly 50 offshore Crane Operatives, Crane Maintainers, Lifting Personnel, and Deck Crew, who will receive the extra leave without any reduction in wages. These workers are contracted by Sparrows to work on BP’s Andrew, Clair, Clair Ridge, ETAP, Glen Lyon, and Mungo installations.

The agreement also incorporates the 2022 pay rise across all aspects of the workers’ wages, terms, and conditions, and introduces overtime pay at time and a half for hours worked beyond the standard 12-hour shift.

As a result of the deal, Unite members have called off the planned strike action that was scheduled from March 29 until June 7 across BP platforms.

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham applauded the outcome, stating, “Unite’s Sparrows members on BP assets have secured an extra three weeks paid leave along with other benefits, including an uplift in overtime pay, because they were fully prepared to strike and fight for a better deal.”

Graham urged other North Sea contractors and operators to take note of the workers’ determination and offer acceptable deals to avoid potential widespread industrial action.

The deal comes after Unite revealed yesterday that approximately 1,400 members had voted overwhelmingly in favor of strike action on the UK Continental Shelf. The trade union warned of a possible “tsunami of industrial action” if disputes involving Bilfinger UK Limited, Stork construction, Petrofac Facilities Management, and the Wood Group UK Limited remain unresolved.

Unite also highlighted a separate ongoing dispute over pay and conditions for around 150 members employed by Sparrows Offshore Service across more than 20 oil and gas platforms. This unresolved dispute could impact major operators such as Apache, Shell, and Harbour Energy.

“The dispute on BP assets is now over, however, operators need to pay attention to the way they treat their contractors. If they do not, then Unite has a simple message: we are coming after you,” said Vic Fraser, Unite Regional Officer.

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