Billfinger staff that are stationed on Ithaca Energy assets are in contact with unions over potential strike action as they look to change how they are paid.
Offshore workers employed by the energy services firm want to move to salaries in order to avoid employees going for weeks without pay in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.
Bilfinger allegedly snubbed the request because it would be too complex for payroll staff to make the changes, but there are claims the real reason is that the company doesn’t want to pay for someone to process wages.
It is understood that Unions have gotten involved and crunch talks will be held with Unite Bilfinger branch representatives tomorrow, potentially paving the way for industrial action.
A spokesperson for Bilfinger UK said: “We can confirm that we’re consulting with 43 employees on moving to a 2-3 rota, which is widely seen across the offshore sector as the preferred rota option.
“We refute the allegation that we won’t move to a salary model due to payroll complexity or staffing.
“The vast majority of our offshore workforce are paid weekly, and our current approach of operating a weekly payroll means our employees benefit from accessing their benefits and allowances on a weekly basis, as opposed to monthly.”
One Unite the Union spokesperson said: “I’ve been made aware that there is growing unrest offshore and this will likely lead to legal industrial action ballots taking place in the future.”
Unite says that no industrial action notice has been served to the Germany-based engineering firm as of yet.
However, it will provide updates following the scheduled meeting between the two parties.
Last year saw many Bilfinger staff across various North Sea installations downing tools in a series of wildcat strikes, in what was described by some at the time as a “wage revolution“.
Following this, the German firm signed up for the Energy Services Agreement, an Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) initiative.
The Energy Services Agreement is an employment agreement that sets base terms and conditions for thousands of employees working offshore in the UK and aims to promote fairness and stability and to create a sustainable foundation for employees, employers, and operators in the UK offshore energy industry.
Ithaca has been asked for comment.