The Offshore Co-ordinating Group (OCG) said it supports the “fightback” by North Sea workers after they voted to strike for the first time in a generation.
The move came after talks broke down between Unite, RMT and Wood Group earlier this month ahead of yesterday’s ballot.
More than 200 workers were balloted from both unions over whether strike action should be taken.
The industry group has also hit out after it emerged Shell was looking for back-up staff on its in eight platforms in preparation for strike action.
Tommy Campbell, chair of the Offshore Co-ordinating Group (OCG) said it would be contacting BALPA over the potential use of agency staff on helidecks.
He said the group also planned to get in touch with Nautilus International to alert supply vessel masters as well.
He said:“The Offshore Co-ordinating Group strongly supports this organised fightback against swingeing wage cuts imposed by the Wood Group. The high turnout speaks volumes about the determination of these trade union members to defend their terms and conditions and halt the race to the bottom.
“Their stand is a shining example to other offshore workers who are currently considering fighting back against the unjustifiable actions of too many North Sea employers. The OCG calls upon other offshore workers not to be drawn into undermining this dispute by doing the work of striking workers.
“The OCG is also extremely concerned to hear that Shell is considering using strike breaking employment agency staff to work on platform helicopter decks.
“We would remind Shell that serious safety issues are involved in the use of temporary staff offshore. Agency staff will have to be fully trained and supervised for at least 12 helicopter landings.
“We will be alerting our colleagues in BALPA to this fact and their members will be asked to be vigilant in the event that agency staff are deployed in safety critical posts.
“In addition we understand that employment agencies may also be used to deploy deck crew with banksman slinger tickets so we will be asking Nautilus International to alert all supply vessel Masters to be vigilant too.
“Instead of misusing employment agencies Shell should be using their considerable influence to persuade Wood Group to back off with their wage cuts and help bring an end to this dispute.”
A Shell spokesman said: “Following the announcement by Unite and the RMT, we have been exploring options to ensure we can continue to provide coverage for safety critical roles should that be necessary to ensure the safety of personnel and the installations.”
Shell, Wood Group and industry body Oil & Gas UK all labelled the move by unions as “disappointing”.
Unions will now decide on their next move following the balloting of more than 200 workers from both RMT and Unite.
The decision to strike could affect the Shearwater, Gannet, Nelson, Curlew, Brent Delta, Brent Alpha, Brent Bravo and Brent Charlie platforms.
Last night unions said the ballot results were “well over” the 50% turnout threshold with huge majorities in support of industrial action in the form of strike action.
Both Unite and RMT will now consult with Wood Group members across the Shell assets to discuss the “timing and nature” of the action.
John Boland, Unite regional officer, said: “Despite the best efforts of the full-time officials and workforce Shop Stewards to broker a deal with the company, talks have failed to find an acceptable deal for the workforce.
“We now find ourselves forced down the route of industrial action and in the coming days the workforce will determine the timing and nature of that action. That said, we remain available for talks should the company wish to consider an alternative offer.
“However, any talks must respect the workers and especially with regards to exercising their democratic rights in a dispute situation.”
Unions decided to ballot their workers in May after initial talks regarding 30% pay cuts across the eight assets failed to provide a solution.
Wood Group’s chief executive of its eastern region business unit, Dave Stewart, said it would continue to try and reach an agreement with its employees and unions.
He said: “We are extremely disappointed with the outcome of the ballot. Throughout the extensive consultation with our offshore employees we have been fair and transparent, addressing every significant concern that our employees and the unions have expressed.
“We have met with the unions 11 times, and also with shop stewards and communication representatives. In addition, senior management have visited all those platforms involved to engage directly with the workforce.
“Safeguarding long-term employment opportunities for our employees on these assets is our priority and proposals regarding changes to terms and conditions have been reviewed with this as our firm focus.
“The unions have acknowledged this is a challenging time for the industry. We fully honour the Offshore Partnership Agreement in place with the OCA and many of our offshore employees working on these assets are paid significantly above the agreed rates.”
Unite workers voted 99.1% in favour of industrial action while 98.5% of RMT members voted to support industrial action.
Shell’s vice president of its Upstream operations in the UK and Ireland, Paul Goodfellow, said: “We are disappointed that the dispute has reached this stage. We hope that Wood Group’s employees and management can resolve their issues.
“Our priority is to ensure that the safety of our people and assets will not be compromised during any industrial action.”
The oil major started making staffing back-up plans.