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Shell North Sea strike: What we know so far

Production at the Brent Alpha and Bravo platforms will come to an end November 1
Production at the Brent Alpha and Bravo platforms will come to an end November 1

Oil workers could strike today for the first time in a generation after talks broke down between unions and Wood Group.

The move comes after oil major Shell found itself at the centre of the workforce dispute which has paved the way for industrial action.

BREAKING: RMT workers vote in support of strike action.

Unions decided to ballot their workers in May after initial talks regarding 30% pay cuts to eight of Shell’s North Sea platforms, including the Brent field, failed to provide a solution. It’s the third pay cut since 2014.

At the time, Unite regional officer John Boland said: “Our members have already given a lot of ground because we understand that with a low oil price the companies had to make changes to maintain probability.

“For the benefit of the North Sea as a whole we most not roll over again. This our only opportunity to stay strong and say no, just not just for us but for for the whole of the North Sea.”

A ballot of more than 200 workers on Shell’s Brent oilfield is expected to be revealed later today.

Wood Group and unions had been in talks again last week ahead of the ballot result.

The negotiations broke down with  Boland accusing the company of refusing “to move on any of the major issues” and seemed “determined” to force the issue into an industrial dispute.

The claim was disputed by a spokeswoman for Wood Group who said its “strongly” refuted the allegation made.

It said the company had met with unions 11 times and also with shop stewards.

Senior management is also said to have visited all the platforms to engage with the workforce.

The unions rejected the service firms concessions on sick and holiday allowances. Wood Group also said the workforce could retain their life insurance.  However, the unions argued the workforce could not withstand the “swinging” pay cuts.

Possible strike action has been rumbling on since early last year.

Last year, disputes around unilateral changes to staff rotas, rate of pay, sick pay and holiday pay proposed by the Offshore Contractors’ Association which employs thousands of offshore workers forced a ballot Read more here.

 

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