The Caterers Offshore Trade Association (COTA) has called on employees to turn out and vote in ongoing industrial ballots before they close later this month.
Both Unite and RMT unions opened their ballots asking members if they would be prepared to take strike action or action short of a strike after COTA companies decided to freeze pay.
Earlier this year COTA had said it wouldn’t pay the second year of a two-year deal which would see a 1.3% rise in wages.
Last month Energy Voice exclusively revealed hundreds of jobs were at risk from across the six member companies including Entier, Aramark and Sodexo.
Peter Bruce, chair of the Caterers Offshore Trade Association, said: “Our message to the workforce is that if you don’t support the industrial action proposed by the unions you need to cast your vote.
“There are no turnout restrictions in the ballots so the result won’t accurately reflect workers’ views unless everyone takes part. If a strike goes ahead it will damage our industry and you will be impacted whether you voted yes, no or not at all.
“Like the rest of our industry, our businesses are under pressure to stem spiralling operating costs against the backdrop of the oil price slump and an aging basin. The oil price is currently sitting just below $50 per barrel compared with $103 when the two year pay deal was signed.
“Our member companies are already being forced to make redundancies and we simply cannot expect our businesses to remain competitive if we continue to increase wages. We believe a pay freeze is fair, particularly when UK inflation is in negative territory at -0.1% and many other companies are cutting pay.
“We understand workers’ frustration at the original deal being retracted but we believe that employers and employees need to pull together at this challenging time if we are to secure the long term future of the industry and ensure there continue to be well paid offshore jobs for decades to come.
“Strike action can only do damage to that goal and we hope that employees will support us by voting no in the ballots.”