A ballot on proposed strike action is to be held by construction workers at Peterhead’s St Fergus Gas Plant over “safety concerns” and “attacks on terms and conditions”, a trade union has said.
Unite the union confirmed today that workers will hold the ballot over concerns that employer Wood has plans to withdraw a longstanding payment to workers who carry out safety work.
The union claim the withdrawal of the payment could cut some worker wages by more than £100 per week.
It is understood around 70 workers will be balloted.
Aberdeen-headquartered Wood claimed the change in conditions “aligns” St Fergus “with other Wood sites”.
The St Fergus Gas Plant is a Shell-owned facility outside Peterhead which process oil and gas reserves from North Sea installations.
Unite claimed the dispute raises other safety concerns around workers being forced into serving as safety permit holders without the historic payment.
Vic Fraser, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “Unite will not stand by as individuals who do not want to perform this safety critical role and those individuals who are not even capable to carry out the added responsibilities being forced to do so.
“The permit system is an integral part of the safety system at the gas plant.
“Both Wood Group and the site operator Shell have been made aware of the reduced plant efficiency and the concerns over safety through stopping the original practice of permit holders coming in half an hour before the rest of the workforce.
“But, neither company appears to be interested in what the workforce has to say.”
Wood has seen its stock fall by around 20% in the year to date, but said it expects to see “significant growth” due to increased work in the Middle East and North America.
A spokeswoman for the firm said: “In line with site activity, we no longer require 36 employees to undertake 30 minutes of overtime to take out permits.
“We are modifying employee terms and conditions to reflect this change, which aligns with other Wood sites.
“Safety remains our highest priority and is not impacted by these changes.
“All employees working in a permit-controlled environment receive relevant training as part of their roles.”