Belfast Telegraph

Oil workers to strike in Wood Group dispute over pay and allowances

North Sea oil workers are to go on strike for the first time in a generation in a dispute over pay cuts and changes to allowances.

Almost 400 members of the Unite and RMT unions working for Wood Group across eight Shell oil and gas platforms in the North Sea will hold the first in a planned series of 24-hour stoppages on July 26.

This follows a 99.1% vote in favour of strike action by Unite members and a 98.5% vote in favour of strike action by RMT members.

The unions anticipate the action will severely disrupt operations on the Shell platforms based in the Brent and Central oil and gas fields.

Union members say they are angry over Wood Group's proposal to cut pay and allowances by up to 30%.

Recent changes have also seen workers move from a two-week working cycle to a three-week working cycle, which the unions say means working extra weeks offshore for the same salary.

Unite regional officer John Boland said: "Strike action by our members is not a decision they take lightly, but they have been pushed to the limit by an employer unwilling to rethink proposals to slash their pay and allowances.

"This is the third series of redundancies and cuts to our members' wages and terms and conditions in the last two years.

"Our members have already made sacrifices and are experiencing the effects of the imposition of a three-week working cycle which means more time offshore and less time with their families, for the same salary.

"They work in some of the most hazardous conditions in one of the toughest jobs in the world and deserve better than Wood Group's bogus claims that their proposed pay cuts won't amount to much.

"Wood Group needs to wake up to the determination of our members by negotiating seriously with Unite and the other offshore unions to reach a deal which is fair for their highly-skilled and hard-working workforce."

A Wood Group spokesman said: " Our employees' safety and welfare is our priority, and although we are extremely disappointed that they have chosen to take industrial action, we respect their right to do so.

"We continue to engage proactively and openly with our employees and the unions with a focus on reaching a resolution.

"Safeguarding these jobs in the North Sea now and in the future has always been and remains our priority."