Union boss pledges to continue push for offshore helicopter inquiry

Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell
Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell

A leading Aberdeen trade unionist has said he will continue to campaign for an independent probe into helicopter safety in the oil and gas industry- even though the government has rejected calls.

A total of 33 workers and crew have been killed in Super Puma helicopter crashes in the North Sea since 2009.

But earlier this year the Scottish Government said it would not back calls for an inquiry, which would ultimately have to be brought by Westminster

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said there is already work being carried out within the industry to review safety and an inquiry “would not be helpful”.

Last night Unite the Union north-east regional officer Tommy Campbell said that the campaign would continue.

He said: “In the UK and Norwegian oil and gas industry 212 workers have lost their lives due to helicopter accidents and it’s important that we all support the campaign for a UK full public enquiry as this part of remembering those who died as well as fighting for those still working in the industry.

“It’s so disappointing that that the Uk Government refused to  support the Transport Select Committee’s recommendation in 2014 that there should be  a full public enquiry and even more disappointing is that recently the Scottish Government have decided not support a UK public enquiry either despite the many representations from the Offshore based Unions and the families who lost loved ones in the helicopter accidents.

“Oil and gas workers travel to work in a dangerous environment and also spend weeks working with the potential of great danger that the Piper Alpha tragedy could happen again.

“Other workers too find themselves in dangerous situations whilst working when recently Lyra McKee was killed in Northern Ireland.

“There have been comments that it was an accidental shooting and she was in the wrong place at the wrong time when in fact she was in the right place at the right time as she was working carrying out her duties as a Journalist in a dangerous environment.

“We will remember all those killed at work or who have died as a result of industrial disease and we will honour their memory by continuing  the fight so that all workers can come back home safely.

“We will continue our demand for this inquiry for all the workers and their families.”

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