Fresh Strike Wave Looms in UK Offshore Sector as 600 Bilfinger Workers Reject Pay Offers, Unite Says

UK-based union Unite said Friday that around 600 of its offshore members at Bilfinger UK Limited have rejected new pay offers, and confirmed fresh strike action will now occur in June.

"New pay offers were rejected by Unite members based on the offshore assets of the operators Ithaca, CNRI, and TAQA. The offers all constituted a basic pay increase of 6 per cent but with the current real inflation rate (RPI) standing at 13.5 per cent this represents a significant real terms pay cut," Unite said.

These Bilfinger members did not participate in the previous round of 48-hour strike action involving 1200 offshore workers held on 10-12 May, as the pay offers were put to the membership. Around 200 Bilfinger contractors working on BP and Repsol assets however did participate in the strike action, Unite said.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Unite’s offshore members working for Bilfinger have given a loud and clear answer to the company and oil operators. Simply put: below inflation pay offers from a sector awash with billions in record profits is unacceptable. Our members remain resolute in their fight to secure good jobs, pay and conditions across the offshore sector, and they will have Unite’s full support.”

Unite confirmed that around 800 Bilfinger contractors will now participate in two new rounds of strike action starting on 1 June (6.30am) and ending on 3 June (6.29am), and then from 8 June (6.30am) to 10 June (6.29am).

Unite said that a number of oil and gas operators would be hit by the industrial action including BP, CNRI, Ithaca, Repsol and TAQA. 

"Unite predicts that any strike action on the offshore installations will impact on production and planned work. Over 30 installations will be hit by 800 tradespersons not completing planned work," Unite said.

These are the offshore installations potentially impacted by any strike action, as per Unite - Alba North, Andrew, Arbroath, AUK, Bleoholm, Brae Alpha, Captain FPSO, Captain WPP, Clair, Clair Ridge, Claymore, Clyde, Cormorant Alpha, East Brae, Eider, Etap, FPF1, Fulmar, Glen Lyon, Harding, Leman Alpha, Montrose, Ninian Central, Ninian South, North Cormorant, Piper Bravo, Seafox 4, Sean Papa, Sole Pit Clipper, Tartan Alpha, Tern Alpha, Tiffany and Unity and 4 Greenhole Place, Bridge of Don Industrial Estate, Aberdeen, AB23 8EU.

Shauna Wright, Unite industrial officer, added: “Bilfinger and operators have attempted to play divide and conquer tactics but this has spectacularly backfired on them. Unite’s members remain united and solid.

800 Bilfinger workers across over thirty offshore installations will now take part in two new 48-hour stoppages in June. Our Bilfinger members are determined to secure pay increases which at the very least match inflation. The company and the operators have one last chance to resolve this before a new wave of industrial action hits dozens of offshore assets.”

In a comment sent to Offshoret Engineer, a spokesperson for Bilfinger UK, said:"As an Energy Services Agreement (ESA) signatory, we align with the industry base rates of pay that are agreed annually with the unions, and this most recent offer follows a 4% increase that was awarded in January. We respect the right for peaceful and planned strike action and will continue to engage with the unions, our clients, and our colleagues to come to a positive resolution. Operational safety remains our top priority and we have procedures in place to minimize any potential disruption.”

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