UK-based workers' union Unite said Friday that some 300 Stork construction members would be balloted on strike action on over 30 offshore installations in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), potentially affecting operators such as EnQuest, Repsol, Shell and Total.
According to Unite, the latest offshore dispute is related on working rotas and Stork rates of pay "failing to keep pace with the broader cost of living"which stands at 13.4 per cent (RPI)."
"Unite has demanded that the contentious three on/three off rotas are abolished," Unite said.
The ballot runs for four weeks opening on February 17 and closes on March 17.
"Unite recently held a consultative ballot of its Stork membership which overwhelmingly revealed support for strike action standing at 96 per cent on a 94 per cent ballot return. A number of operators will be hit by any successful ballot for industrial action including ," the union said.
"Unite predicts that strike action on the offshore installations will lead to a serious backlog in maintenance work potentially leading to installation shutdowns if any are safety critical which would result in a loss of production," Unite warned.
Stork Technical Services UK Limited recorded a profit of £2.5m in 2021 in its last full accounts, Unite said.
Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “Unite’s members have been backed into a corner by Stork to either swallow a real terms pay cut or fight back. Our members understandably believe that the only way Stork will come back to the negotiating table is through the real threat of strike action.
"This would hit over thirty offshore installations and potentially lead to shutdowns. We will support our members all the way in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions in the offshore sector.”
Unite said that the latest offshore dispute comes at a time when record profits have been announced by oil and gas operators.
"Unite this week blasted the UK Government's inaction on taxing oil firms as BP posted the biggest profits in its history as it doubled to £23 billion in 2022. BP’s bonanza profits come after Shell reports earnings of £32 billion, bringing the combined total profits of the top two energy companies in Britain to a record £55 billion," Unite said.
Vic Fraser Regional Officer for Unite the union added: “Throughout 2022 Unite worked hard with Stork to get an improvement on the base rates of pay but the company was unwilling to meet a fair settlement.
“No one wants to go on strike but it is clear to our members that offshore operators, who are the real paymasters in the sector, are not listening to the current industrial unrest despite lodging record profits.
“There is already a skills shortage in the offshore sector demonstrated by significant maintenance backlogs. This is before the main offshore maintenance work even starts for 2023. The industry talks about a Just Transition to net zero but unless there are decent terms and conditions in the offshore sector there won’t be a workforce left to transition.”
Unite has provided the full list of offshore installations and workplaces potentially impacted by any strike action: Anasuria Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO), Armada, Beryl Alpha, Beryl Bravo, Bleo Holm, Blue Catcher, Brent Charlie, Bruce, Buzzard, Claymore, Clyde, Cygnus Alpha, Elgin, Forties Alpha, Forties Bravo, Forties Charlie, Forties Delta, Gannet, Golden Eagle, Heather, Lomond, Magnus, Mariner, Montrose, Nelson, North Everest, Rough, Scott, Shearwater, Tartan Alpha, Triton FPSO, Western Isles and Norfolk House (Dyce, Aberdeen).