Belfast Telegraph

Unite workers end North Sea dispute by voting to accept proposal

Offshore workers have voted to accept a proposal ending an industrial dispute that led to the first North Sea strike of its kind in a generation.

Unite members working on Shell platforms took industrial action after rejecting proposed cuts in pay and allowances by their employer the Wood Group.

Unite had said workers faced losing up to 30% in pay and allowances.

Members have now voted by 105 votes to 82 in favour of accepting a proposal to end the dispute. They voted in an electronic ballot which closed at noon on Thursday.

Unite regional officer John Boland said: "Our negotiations with Wood Group allowed us to reduce the levels of cuts being proposed to our members' wages and terms and conditions.

"We were able to secure improvements to competency payments and the introduction of a flexibility payment. Threats to life insurance, health care and sick pay have been removed.

"We have a commitment to greater work security for ad-hoc workers and they now have greater opportunities to progress into permanent posts.

"As ever, our members have shown themselves willing to be open to meaningful negotiations and are not blind to the challenges facing the offshore sector in these difficult times - but they have also shown they will not be treated unfairly.

"I would like to pay tribute to all the stewards and members who stayed united, strong and determined during this dispute. They can be proud of the way they stood by each other in this difficult time."

Dave Stewart, Wood Group's eastern region chief executive officer, said: "We welcome our employees' support for the revised proposal, which recognises their skills, flexibility and capabilities and demonstrates collective leadership in shaping the future of the North Sea.

"We recognise that this has been a difficult period for everyone involved and we respect the workforce for accepting this revised proposal in relation to the current market conditions.

"This resolution was enabled by the strong engagement within the joint working group of Wood Group representatives, union officials and shop stewards."