This article is in response to an opinion piece written by former Conservative MSP, Brian Monteith.
The Tory MSP Brian Monteith should hold his head in shame. Has he forgotten how many lives have been lost after stepping aboard a Super Puma in the North Sea?
Unite’s Keep the North Sea Puma free campaign was established because offshore workers had lost their lives because of a catastrophic gear box failure of the Super Puma helicopter not because of any failure by the Sikorsky 92.
Unite, the RMT, GMB and Norwegian trade unions back the Keep the North Sea Puma Free campaign as well as major oil companies. Statoil has gone public and will not use this Super Puma model again.
We remind Mr Monteith that in April 2009 all 14 passengers and 2 crew died when a Super Puma came down in the North Sea close to Peterhead and in April 2016, 13 people died after a Super Puma EC225 crashed west of the Norwegian city of Bergen.
The 2016 crash followed two crashes in 2012 in Scotland. Both crashes, which did not result in fatalities, were blamed on gear box problems.
In total since the 2009 Super Puma crash 33 families have lost loved ones who stepped aboard a Super Puma helicopter.
Offshore workers and their families have made it absolutely clear that they have lost confidence in the Super Puma helicopter.
In addition, Scottish MSPs and Government ministers including current Tory MSPs have said it’s up to the offshore workers to decide if they wish to travel in the Super Puma helicopter.
Surveys by Airbus, Unite and Energy Voice have also demonstrated that there is a majority of offshore workers who still have no confidence in the Super Puma.
All offshore trade unions believe that commercial pressures and the workload of the Super Puma is a major contributing factor to these accidents.
Many MSPs including Lewis MacDonald have raised concerns about the Super Puma and all are with Unite and other Unions backing the campaign Keep the North Sea Puma Free.
In August 2017 Airbus published details of a workforce survey about the Super Puma. It revealed that 62% of those surveyed would not want to use the Super Puma, ever.
A further 15% said they would not be comfortable boarding one until more guarantees about safety changes had been delivered.
So it is abundantly clear that even in Airbus surveys there is considerable opposition within the offshore workforce about the Super Puma.
Offshore workers and their families have made it absolutely clear that they have lost confidence in the helicopter.
That confidence is never going to return therefore MSP Brian Monteith should stand alongside offshore workers and their families and not be courting favour with Airbus about the return of the Super Puma, shame on him for doing that and criticising the offshore workers, their families and their Unions.