More than 300 offshore workers have voted for strikes across 20 North Sea installations, Unite the Union has announced, causing “major problems” for production.
A series of 48-hour stoppages are planned for companies within the UK Drilling Contractors Association (UKDCA) in a dispute over pay.
The first in a series of strikes over eight weeks are expected to begin on October 20 and 21.
Affected installations include: BP’s Clair and Clair Ridge, Repsol Sinopec’s Claymore and Piper Bravo, Apache’s Beryl, Brae and Forties assets, Shell’s Brent Alpha, Ithaca’s Alba North and Captain, Taqa’s Cormorant Alpha, EnQuest’s Magnus and Equinor’s Mariner platform.
Individual drilling rigs including the Maersk Innovator, Maersk Resolve and Paul B Lloyd Jr will also be affected.
The move will cause “major problems” for North Sea production and individual operators, the union said.
The UKDCA, which represents Transocean, Maersk Drilling, Odfjell Technology and Archer UK, has been asked for comment.
Meanwhile affected operators have been asked to confirm whether there will be any issues around production.
Irene Bruce, Energy Services Agreement Manager at OEUK, said: “We are aware of this upcoming action and continue to engage with the Unions and UKDCA as they work together to reach a solution.
“Employers and unions are working hard and constructively to address workforce concerns and ensure the North Sea remains an attractive and safe place to work. We are certain all parties are looking to resolve matters as soon as possible.”
Unite returned 95% of workers in favour of strike action on a turnout of 86% after members rejected a 5% pay offer.
Further North Sea strikes are planned for 3-4 November, 17-18 November and 15-16 December, with a warning the action could escalate to “all-out strike action”.
The stoppages could include an overtime ban from October 18, limiting the working day to 12 hours with no extra cover during scheduled field breaks and the “withdrawal of goodwill” which would prevent handovers between shifts.
Unite industrial officer Vic Fraser said: “Unite has an emphatic mandate for industrial action from our members covered by the UKDCA. The level of participation from our drilling members is totally unprecedented with Unite’s membership growing on a daily basis.
“For years drilling companies have treated our members with contempt and in the process paid them a pittance. We will no longer tolerate this from an industry overflowing with record profits. Our members are now set to take industrial action in the coming weeks which will have a major impact on offshore platforms and drilling rigs.”
The action comes amid growing unrest from the offshore workforce which has initiated its own wildcat strikes in the UK sector in recent months.
Pressure has been growing on contractors to increase rates while the oil price surges and companies struggle to recruit workers for the boom.