Hundreds of offshore contractors are readying to “fight on” after they “resoundingly” rejected an updated wage offer.
Trade union Unite confirmed on Friday that around 450 Stork workers had knocked back the deal “on the basis that it represents a real terms pay cut”.
The contracting firm tabled an offer of 6%, which was dismissed by 76% of members.
According to Stork, Unite is asking for a rise that would cost the company an extra £19 million a year, while other demands are outwith the company’s control.
A spokeswoman for the Aberdeen-based firm said: “We are disappointed that members of Unite, through a consultative ballot, have voted to reject our pay offer of a further 6% increase on the base rate, which would have provided an overall 10% permanent annual increase for 2023 (18.12% over the course of 2022 and 2023).
“The elements of the pay claim include implementing an increase of £7 per hour. If Stork were to do this, it would amount to an increase of approximately £19 million per annum of cost to Stork, based on our current headcount. The next item is to abolish three week on and three week off work cycles. This is outside of Stork’s control. The final element is to have Inspection included within the scope of the Energy Services Agreement. Whilst it is not within Stork’s power to have this discipline unilaterally added, we have already agreed to have our inspection teams paid in line with ESA terms.
“We continue to maintain an on-going dialogue with union officials, our employees and clients in an attempt to bring this to a timely resolution. Safety, employment opportunities and operational continuity all continue to be our priority.”
Unite claims the deal put to members only covered around 70% of the union’s 650 members within Stork, with those working on Apache and Anasuria assets missing out.
Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Unite’s Stork members, those who were covered by the offer, resoundingly rejected it since it represents a real terms wage cut.
“Our members are prepared to fight on because let’s not forget Stork is a profitable company and can well afford to fund a better offer.
“We will support our members all the way in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions in the offshore sector.”
Strikes rolling on
There had been optimism that industrial unrest in the North Sea was easing after around 700 Bilfinger workers settled a dispute last week.
But a Unite officer subsequently said that was not the case, adding that workers were willing to battle on to try and secure better wages.
Updates on any forthcoming strike action will be made in due course, the union said, after members voted to down tools by 98% in March.
Vic Fraser, Unite industrial officer, added: “Unite’s members have overwhelmingly rejected the latest wage offer. This was in no small part due to the fact that the offer did not even cover all of Stork’s offshore workers.
“We will be meeting with our reps to discuss the next steps. It’s hugely disappointing that Stork could not make our members a fair offer before the busy offshore shut down season starts on the platforms and vessels.
“Those working on the Apache and Anasuria units were not made any wage offer by Stork. We fear that this situation could result in a mass exodus of experienced staff from these units unless a wage offer includes all Stork workers.”
Stork has been approached for comment.