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Workers begin 48-hour strike on Shell’s North Sea assets

Workers on the Brent Charlie platform
Workers on the Brent Charlie platform

A 48-hour North Sea strike has begun on seven of Shell’s assets after last ditch attempts to reach an agreement between unions and workers broke down.

Around 400 Wood Group employees will begin the third set of industrial action in the past two weeks in a dispute over pay and conditions.

Both sides have been urged by the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) to attempt further negotiations.

Chief executive of the OCA, Paul Atkinson, warned the move would “do nothing” to help protect the UKCS in its recovery from the oil price decline.

He said: “Our members strongly believe that industrial action will do nothing to encourage the investment we need to sustain jobs and maximize economic recovery from the UKCS.

“We are continuing to do all we can to encourage Wood Group and the relevant trade unions to reach an agreement before there are any additional stoppages.”

An overtime ban was implemented last week and will continue until further notice.

A 24-hour strike was also held last month followed a couple of days later by two sets of three-hour stoppages on the Shell assets.

Dave Stewart, chief executive for Wood Group’s eastern region business, said: “We are hugely disappointed that industrial action is progressing despite the significant movements we had made
and what we believed was constructive, continued engagement with the unions over the weekend and on Monday.

“We were willing to suspend the implementation of the terms and conditions currently proposed to enable further detailed discussions with our employees and the unions.

“We urge the unions to show willingness to reengage with us with a clear objective of reaching a resolution that safeguards employment opportunities for our employees, their members, both now and in the future.

Unite’s regional officer John Boland said the union was repeating its call for proper consultation and negotiation.

He said: “Industrial action is always a last resort and throughout this dispute we have constructively sought to find a resolution. We need to look forward and work towards a sustainable solution.

“Offshore workers do a difficult, dangerous job and we all rely on the energy they produce. We need Wood Group and other energy companies to stop constantly attacking these workers, and move on to a more positive agenda, working with the unions to address the challenges facing the industry.”

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