Around 70 offshore workers employed by the French supermajor, TotalEnergies, are balloting for strike action.
The North Sea members of Unite the Union are based on the Elgin Franklin and North Alwyn platforms along with the Shetland Gas Plant.
Those voting include control room operators, mechanical, operations and production technicians along with skilled engineers.
The ballot is currently open for union members on the Elgin Franklin and North Alwyn platforms while the ballot covering the Shetland Gas Plant opens on 19 April. Both ballots close on 5 May.
‘Enough is enough’
If the workers vote in favour of strike action, they will join what Unite has previously described as a ‘tsunami’ of industrial unrest in the offshore sector.
John Boland, Unite industrial officer, said: “Unite’s members employed by TotalEnergies across the Elgin Franklin and North Alwyn platforms, and the Shetland Gas Plant are joining an army of offshore workers saying enough is enough.
“If the TotalEnergies workforce supports strike action then it will undoubtedly have a significant impact on oil and gas production across the company’s assets.”
The French company’s staff are raising concerns surrounding pay and a reduction in the days worked offshore.
TotalEnergies workers are on different shift rotations, either three weeks on and three weeks or four weeks off.
The union has spoken with TotalEnergies and the North Sea operator’s management has “refused” to discuss any changes to the rotas currently in place.
‘The scale of corporate greed in the offshore sector’
Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, commented: “Oil and gas companies in the offshore sector are enjoying record windfall profits.
“In 2022, TotalEnergies posted a record net profit of $20.5 billion (£16.4 billion).
“The scale of corporate greed in the offshore sector has to be challenged, and it will be by Unite.
“We will support all our TotalEnergies members every step of the way in the fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”
A TotalEnergies spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that our workforce is being balloted on strike action and we remain committed to negotiating in relation to our employees’ 2023 terms and conditions claim.
“We await Unite’s proposal on a resolution so that we can conclude this matter.”
‘Tsunami’ in the North Sea
This comes as Unite announced that 1350 offshore workers across five companies will take strike action starting on 24 April until 26 April.
The union has claimed platforms, operated by the likes of BP, Shell and Harbour Energy, will likely be brought to a standstill, threatening the UK’s energy security.
The dispute, which includes workers from Bilfinger UK, Petrofac, Stork, Sparrows and Worley, centres on pay.
Among those that will be striking includes electrical, production and mechanical technicians in addition to deck crew, scaffolders crane operators, pipefitters, platers, and riggers.