Historic Offshore Worker Strike in UK North Sea to Bring Dozens of Platforms to Standstill, Unite Says

©Arild/AdobeStock
©Arild/AdobeStock

UK-based workers' union Unite said on Friday said that an "unprecedented 48-hour major stoppage" would hit the offshore oil sector later this month, with 1350 offshore workers predicted to bring dozens of platforms to a ‘standstill.’

The trade union predicts the strike action starting on April 24 until April 26 will bring platforms and the offshore installations of major oil and gas operators to a ‘standstill’. The corporations to be hit by the action include BP, CNRI, EnQuest, Harbour Energy, Ithaca, Shell, and TotalEnergies.

The five companies to be impacted by the strike action are as follows: Bilfinger UK Limited, Petrofac Facilities Management, Stork Technical Services, Sparrows Offshore Services, and Worley Services UK Limited. The workforce includes electrical, production and mechanical technicians in addition to deck crew, scaffolders crane operators, pipefitters, platers, and riggers. 

John Boland, Unite industrial officer, added: “Unite has received an emphatic mandate in support of strike action. It is historic, and it will be the biggest offshore stoppage in a generation.

Unite’s members are determined to get their fair share and to establish a better working environment. This is not exclusively about pay but also working rotas, holidays, and offshore safety.  

The workforce has been taken for granted for years but now their value will be acutely felt when strike action will bring dozens of platforms to a standstill.”

Below are details of disputes, as shared by Unite.

Around 700 offshore workers at Bilfinger UK Limited will down tools as part of a pay dispute. Bilfinger workers are demanding an increase above the base rate of pay set in the Energy Services Agreement (ESA) for 2022. 48-hour strike action will take place starting from 00:01am on 24th April to 23.59pm on the 25th April.

Over 360 Stork construction workers will also take strike action in a dispute over working rotas and rates of pay. 48-hour strike action will take place starting from 6.30am on Monday 24 April until 6.29am on Wednesday 26 April.

Around 50 Unite members employed by Petrofac Facilities Management Limited on the FPF1 platform will take strike action in a dispute over imposed clawback days. 

"Offshore workers can be asked to work at any time for no additional payment. The operator, Ithaca Energy, has a ‘clawback’ policy of 14 days, double the industry norm of 7 days," Unite said. 48-hour strike action will take place starting from 6am on Monday 24 April until 5.59am on Wednesday 26 April.

Around 50 Unite members employed Worley Services UK will strike in a dispute which a base rate increase of £7 per hour, and standby payments to be 12-hours full pay. The workers are based on Harbour Energy platforms; Britannia, Jade, Judy and Jasmine. 48-hour strike action will take place starting from 6am on Monday 24 April until 5.59am on Wednesday 26 April.

The announcement follows 48-hour strike action taken this week by around 150 Sparrows Offshore Services workers across more than 20 oil and gas platforms in a dispute over pay. 

The action impacts on a number of major operators including Shell, Apache and Harbour Energy. 

Strike action will take place starting from 6.30am on 24 April until 6.29am on 25th April instead of 19 to 21 April as previously announced, Unite said Friday.

Unite also has strike mandates at Petrofac BP covering around 100 members and over 80 members employed by the Wood Group on TAQA assets but no strike dates have been announced in relation to these disputes.

 

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