Maritime and oil and gas unions have adopted a united front against industry’s “race to the bottom”, it emerged today.
Representatives from IndustriAll and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) met in Aberdeen last week to draft an industrial and political strategy to combat sector job losses and what they deem to be “social dumping”.
IndustriALL general secretary Jyrki Raina said: “These companies are over-eager to terminate traditional contracts. The competition to cut costs and reduce working conditions in this region is stark. The sheer level of the cutbacks being made is having a severe impact on health and safety of workers. We’re waiting to hear the outcome of the investigation into the death of a Filipino seafarer who died on Technip owned and managed vessel Deep Energy in Invergordon this month – cases like that are obviously of concern.”
General secretary of the ITF Steve Cotton added: “The Oil and Gas Authority are talking about the desire to retain people and skills in the sector and to retrain and redeploy the workforce, but we need to see real commitment to that in terms of action.”
The pair highlighted a string of safety critical incidents last year, including when a wave smashed through a window on the COSL Innovator, killing one and injuring four others. A gas leak on the Gudrun facility and the evacuation of the Valhall and Eldfisk fields after an unmanned barge drifted towards the pair, were also highlighted.
A statement on Unite’s website read: “The oil service, subsea and maritime supply companies situated in the North Sea continental shelves are considered the main targets of the campaign to expose the industry’s part in the ‘race to the bottom’ which has seen the loss of thousands of British, Danish and Norwegian national’s jobs, estimated to be over 50,000.”
The unions groups will meet again to progress an industrial and political campaign gathering support from the offshore workforce and political groups in Europe, according to Unite.