Around 300 Workers on TotalEnergies' UK Offshore Platforms Set to Strike

November 17, 2021

Illustration: TotalEnergies' Culzean field in the UK - File Photo: TotalEnergies
Illustration: TotalEnergies' Culzean field in the UK - File Photo: TotalEnergies

About 300 employees working for Ponticelli UK and Semco Maritime aboard TotalEnergies' North Sea offshore facilities in the UK have voted in favor of a strike after a dispute over cuts to terms and conditions, Unite the union said Tuesday.

Unite’s Ponticelli UK Ltd members voted to take strike action by 93.6% on a return of 64.8%, and Semco Maritime Ltd members voted to take strike action by 90.3% on a 61.4% return.

Unite members are now set to take strike action, including an overtime ban, from early December until late February 2022, Unite said.

These members work on the TotalEnergies contract on the following assets; Ailsa FSO, Culzean, Dunbar, Elgin Franklin, Gryphon FPSO, North Alwyn & Shetland Gas Plant.

The oil company in 2020 awarded a consortium of Ponticelli, Brand, and Semco (PBS) a five-year deal to provide general maintenance of all its operated oil and gas assets in the UK.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: "Unite members at Ponticelli/Semco have made their intentions clear in the ballot. They are going to push back against this attack on their jobs, pay, and conditions. Those making the decisions within these companies clearly lack experience and sound judgment. They need to rethink their proposals and come back with an improved offer. Otherwise, they are going to face determined industrial action which will be supported all the way by the union.”

Unite regional officer, John Boland said: “Unite members are beyond angry and frustrated. We now see that Unite was right when we raised concerns about the inexperience of these two companies and that that inexperience would result in cost-cutting for our members' terms and conditions as well as jobs.

"These workers have worked through the Covid pandemic, losing leave days while involved in Covid testing and while in isolation, they are the people that have kept North Sea platforms producing oil and gas for Total. But now that oil and gas prices are at a new high, vaccines have greatly reduced the impact of Covid, and Total are making millions in profits, our members are being asked to accept cuts to their terms and conditions and redundancies.

“The only way our members can stop these attacks on pay and conditions is to fight for them. This ballot result is a clear mandate that our members will not accept this appalling treatment.”

PBS 'disappointed' with ballot results

In an email sent to Offshore Engineer, PBS Director Andreas Christophersen said: "We have worked hard since the consultation commenced in August. The proposed package, as well as being competitive both within the United  Kingdom Continental Shelf (UKCS) region, and when compared with other major contractors, also includes all base salaries remaining unchanged."

"While disappointed with the result of the ballot, we will continue to work closely with our employee representatives and unions to achieve the solutions which best meet the needs of all parties from the consultation.

"The decision to make changes to anyone’s terms and conditions is not taken lightly, and we are appreciative of the efforts that have gone in to ensuring assets have been able to operate since the beginning of the pandemic.

"We look forward to resuming discussions with union representatives to achieve an agreeable outcome for all parties.”

Offshore Engineer has also reached out to TotalEnergies seeking info on what the strike would mean for its oil and gas production from the platforms mentioned above. We'll update the article with any response we may receive.



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