A Scottish trade union has backed north-east MSP Lewis Macdonald in his call to the Scottish Government to help the North Sea oil and gas sector as it faces an “existential threat”.
The Aberdeen Labour MSP has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament stating that low oil prices and Covid-19 pose a immediate threat danger to the future of the North Sea oil and gas industry.
He said: “The challenges currently facing the oil and gas industry are immense.
“There is an immediate threat to the industry due to the collapse in demand brought on by the pandemic.”
Unite Scotland, who backed the move today, has warned that tens of thousands of jobs are at risk in the sector with upwards of 3,500 workers immediately at risk through redundancies or furloughing by September 2020.
It has launched its own ‘Save Offshore Jobs’ campaign following an announcement last month of the Offshore Contractors Association’s (OCA) intends to serve notice to dismantle a collective agreement covering the terms and conditions of around 7,000 offshore workers at the end of June.
The agreement covers a peak of 10,000 workers during the summer shutdown.
Union bosses have vowed to “resist” oil and gas service companies’ “crazy” plans to scrap a UK North Sea collective bargaining agreement.
John Boland, regional officer at Unite, said dissolving the Offshore Contractors’ Partnership Agreement (OCPA) later this year would lead to “chaos” and a “huge amount of disputes”.
Unite Scottish secretary, Pat Rafferty, added: ”Unite welcomes Lewis Macdonald’s parliamentary motion drawing attention to the challenges facing the oil and gas sector.
“Scotland’s economy faces a long period of getting back to some form of normality after the Covid-19 pandemic subsides, but the north-east and the islands will be one of the areas hardest hit.
“It’s vital that specific measures are brought forward to stabilise the sector and to support those areas in greatest need.
“We hope that this motion further focuses the minds of all parliamentarians on the need for implementing a plan which saves offshore jobs.”