Unite pushing ahead with offshore strike ballot as talks fail again

Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell
Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell

Offshore trade unions are pushing ahead with an official ballot on industrial action.

The move is the latest in a protracted pay dispute with North Sea employers, represented by the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA).

The OCA represents nine companies including Amec Foster Wheeler, Petrofac and Wood Group PSN.

Representatives of Unite and the OCA have met with the independent conciliatory body ACAS but with no resolution.

After yesterday’s meeting, Unite confirmed that it will continue with preparations for official industrial action ballots.

In March, 81% of Unite members voted to reject the latest deal put forward by the OCA.

Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell said: “Unite members gave a significant mandate to hold a ballot for strike action in this dispute with the OCA employers.

“Offshore workers are gearing up to campaign for a yes vote. It is time for all union members to stand up now, and fight back for better terms and conditions.”

David Hulse, GMB national officer for offshore industry, said: “GMB and Unite met with the OCA member companies with Acas in attendance.

“Progress was not made and both unions intend to go ahead with a ballot for industrial action.”

Paul Atkinson, chief executive of the OCA said: “We are extremely disappointed that the trade unions appear unwilling to engage on the issues which are so important to their members.

“Our priority has always been to find ways of avoiding any disruption.

“We approached our meeting today as a constructive opportunity to take the next step in bringing this dispute to a resolution.

“We believe that the OCA has acted as a fair negotiator throughout this process and that our approach balances the needs of employees with the requirements of business.

“Industrial action will only serve to make investment in the North Sea less attractive and jeopardise the long-term future of the industry.

“We remain firmly committed to doing all we can to find a lasting solution to this dispute.”