Workers on a North Sea vessel are poised to down tools next month in a dispute over redundancy packages.
An overwhelming majority, 96%, of Unite members on the Foinaven FPSO have voted to strike on an 84% turn out.
Unless an agreement is brokered, about 60 crew members on board the Teekay-owned vessel, which is due for decommissioning, will down tools continuously from August 5.
According to Unite, workers have been offered a “significantly inferior” redundancy package, compared with Altera Infrastructure’s onshore workforce.
Altera operates the Foinaven, which is due to leave the namesake BP (LON: BP) oilfield, about 120 miles west of Shetland, for the Firth of Clyde at some point nextmonth.
Production from the field was suspended in 2021 and a decommissioning plan was lodged in January.
Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham said: “Our offshore members working on the Foinaven FPSO vessel are rightly aggrieved at being treated as second class workers by Altera. Unite will challenge the company on this. We don’t do our members being treated as ‘second class’. All our members are asking for is parity in the redundancy package due to the contract coming to an end.”
Unite represents around 60 workers on Foinaven who carry out various roles, including crane operators, electricians, deck crew and production technicians.
All workers will be made redundant at the end of August, when the vessel contract with BP comes to an end.
Unite claims that Altera onshore staff will receive redundancy payments of one month’s salary for each completed year of service, up to a maximum of 12 months.
Meanwhile, offshore members are allegedly being offered basic statutory redundancy.
Vic Fraser, Unite industrial officer, added: “During the industrial action ballot process Altera actually threatened our members, their long serving loyal employees, that if they were to take industrial action they may not receive the redundancy package which had been agreed. I am proud that the vote confirms our members will not buckle to threats and neither will their union”.
“There have also been ongoing safety concerns raised by workers that both Altera and BP are still forging ahead with plans to move the vessel when virtually the whole crew will be on an all-out indefinite strike. The thought of having safety critical work done while in tow with no qualified competent crew working is a real concern.”
Work is currently ongoing to unhook the Foinaven from the West of Shetland field, an operation that has caught the eye of environmental groups.
Once complete, it will head for Hunterston Port, though it is currently unknown where the vessel will ultimately be taken for breaking up.
It was recently announced that Teekay had sold the Foinaven to an undisclosed buyer, sparking fears it will be decommissioned overseas.
A spokeswoman for Altera said: “We are currently in contact with all parties on this matter. We value the work and the wellbeing of all our employees and will continue to work towards a resolution of this issue. Please understand that we cannot comment on specifics.”
A BP spokesman said: “Our focus remains on the safe removal of the Petrojarl Foinaven FPSO. We continue to work towards that and are liaising with Altera.”
Teekay was also approached for comment.