Petrofac workers on BP platforms to vote on industrial action

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Offshore union Unite has served notice to Petrofac that it will ballot its contractors stationed on BP platforms in the North Sea for industrial action.

The vote will open next Friday (15th) and close on Wednesday 20th March following a dispute around three-week offshore working patterns.

Unite said workers on the BP platforms are looking for a change to their current rotation of three weeks on, three weeks offshore (3:3) or an addition of paid holidays.

At present, any holidays outside of the contractors’ time back home is not paid for by the company.

Petrofac said it is seeking to resolve the issue “as quickly as possible” through talks with employees, Unite and BP.

Three-week offshore rotas have been a controversial topic for the North Sea sector, leading to strike action for operator Total last year.

Meanwhile other operators including Apache and Shell have opted to change the 3:3 rotations amid claims it could have a detrimental impact on workers’ families and their mental health.

Separately to Petrofac, BP staff work a 3:4, 3:5 rotation.

Operators cannot always determine which shifts are assigned to contractors on their rigs.

Unite regional officer John Boland said they have had “open discussions” but the issue has been long-standing for Petrofac workers, meaning a ballot should now take place.

A spokeswoman for the company said: “Petrofac today confirmed that it has received notification from Unite the Union of its intention to ballot 43 of its offshore employees for industrial action.

“We remain in close dialog with our employees, the union and our client, to bring this to resolution as quickly as possible.”