Striking workers ‘determined’ and in ‘good spirits’, union boss says

A photograph showing crew striking.
A photograph showing crew striking.

Workers engaged in North Sea strike action were in “good spirits” yesterday and remained “determined to see the dispute through to the end”, a union boss said.

Unite regional industrial officer John Boland warned that the union was prepared to “escalate” the strike action, causing widespread disruption.

Last week, Unite added two more 24-hour stoppages to the industrial action schedule.

At the time, Mr Boland accused employers Aker Solutions and Petrofac of taking the “brutal and scandalous” step of launching a consultation to “terminate and re-engage” workers on new contracts.

The two oilfield services firms said they had “entered into consultation” with crew over new contracts, with a revised rota pattern and “enhanced” financial packages.

Aker and Petrofac insisted they were committed to bringing the process to a close safely and fairly.

Yesterday, Mr Boland said the firms’ behaviour was “shameful” and urged them to return to the negotiating table.

He claimed Aker and Petrofac had decided to cut short the consultation and were giving workers only until the end of this week to sign the new contracts.

Mr Boland added: “The actions by Aker and Petrofac, at the behest of Total, have been shameful through the issuing of redundancy notices and trying to force through changes to our members’ rotas from 2:3 to the hated 3:3 or 3:4.

“Today’s industrial action by Unite’s offshore members should serve as a reminder that we will not be intimated and will not shirk from defending our members.

“There was an overwhelming mandate for this action by the membership which should have brought Aker and Petrofac back to the negotiating table.”

Aker and Petrofac did not respond to requests for comment.

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