Offshore workers North Sea strike

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Unite and RMT members express their grievances during their strike action in 2016 – now the action is over to changes to terms, conditions and pay

OFFSHORE union RMT along with Unite and GMB on Tuesday issued notice of strike action by offshore members employed with North Sea contractors Ponticelli and Semco.

RMT members at Semco Maritime and Ponticelli UK Ltd are instructed not to book on for work on the following dates between:
0600 hours on Monday 6th December and 0559 Tuesday 7th December
0600 hours Wednesday 8th December and 0559 Thursday 9th December
0600 hours Friday 10th December and 0559 Saturday 11th December
0600 hours Monday 13th December and 0559 Tuesday 14th December
0600 hours Wednesday 15th December and 0559 Thursday 16th December
0600 hours Friday 17th December and 0559 Saturday 18th December
0600 hours Monday 20th December and 0559 Tuesday 21st December
Additionally, action short of strike in the form of an overtime ban and no higher grade duties will be in place.
RMT General Secretary, Mick Lynch said: ‘The offshore unions, including RMT, warned that the harmonisation exercise of contracts across Total’s operations by the consortium including Ponticelli and Semco risked an attack on our members’ terms and conditions.
‘We have served notice on these companies, who are covered by the collective Energy Services Agreement with RMT and our fellow offshore unions.
‘RMT will not tolerate our offshore oil and gas members being treated unfairly, however we are consulting our members in line with due process to consider an improved offer.’
A sizeable chunk of North Sea oil and gas production will be disrupted after hundreds of offshore workers voted overwehlmingly in favour of industrial action in this bitter dispute over changes to terms, conditions and pay.
The workers, employed by service firms Ponticelli and Semco Maritime, were balloted for strike action last month.
The two companies are part of the PBS consortium which last year was awarded the general maintenance and operations contract for several of TotalEnergies’ assets in the UK North Sea – namely the Alisa floating, storage and offloading (FSO) unit, the Gryphon floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel, the Culzean, Dunbar, Elgin-Franklin and North Alwyn fields, as well as the Shetland Gas Plant on the Shetland Islands.
Combined production from the assets averaged around 230,000 b/d of oil equivalent (boe/d) in the 12 months to mid-August this year, according to figures from the UK’s Oil and Gas Authority.
The industrial action, which will include an overtime ban, is set to take place from early December to late February 2022, Unite said.
‘At present we are still finalising any strike action that will be taken, but this will include stoppages,’ said Unite regional officer John Boland.
‘As for impact on production, if 300 workers take strike action it will impact production.’
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: ‘They need to rethink their proposals and come back with an improved offer.
‘Otherwise they are going to face determined industrial action which will be supported all the way by the union.’

  • Imports of Volkswagen (VW) Group vehicles, which include Audi, Porsche and Skoda, have been put at risk after Sheerness docks’ employers, GB Terminals, threatened jobs and overtime terms.

Unite said on Tuesday that the ballot for strike action will take place between 25 November and 9 December.
More than 50 workers will be impacted by the job cuts and changes to minimum overtime hours.
The Unite workers process and drive VW Group vehicles off ferries arriving in Sheerness dockyard so they are ready to be picked up by car transporters for onward delivery.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: ‘These attacks on jobs and terms are being put forward just as GB Terminals is rebidding for VW’s Sheerness docks contract. Obviously, GB Terminals is now trying to cut its operating costs by unscrupulously targeting its own workers’ jobs and conditions.
‘Unite will not stand by and watch our members’ jobs, pay and conditions being attacked. If our members in Sheerness vote for strike action, they will be supported by their union in their honourable fight for jobs, decent wages and conditions.’
The union also called on VW not to renew its contract with GB Terminals if it continues to force through the plans.
If GB Terminals’ contract with Volkswagen is not renewed, employees would transfer to a new employer under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) with all terms and conditions protected.
Unite regional officer Phil Silkstone said: ‘GB Terminals’ behaviour towards its Sheerness staff is motivated by greed not need.
‘Volkswagen has a reputation to uphold and will not be pleased that one of its contractors is behaving in such a manner.
‘If GB Terminals does not drop these plans, Volkswagen should not renew their contract and instead find another provider who can TUPE over these workers on the same terms and conditions.’