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North Sea workers vow to continue strike action

By Hilary Duncanson

North Sea workers said they were "standing solid and determined" as they staged further strike action over plans to cut pay and allowances.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and Unite, employed by the Wood Group on Shell platforms, were involved in two three-hour stoppages yesterday.

The action came after about 400 workers held the first 24-hour strike in the sector in almost 30 years on Tuesday, with further three-hour stoppages planned for coming weeks.

Officials said workers' pay and allowances could be cut by 30% following an industry slump.

Workers with the unions were instructed to down tools from 6.30am to 9.30am yesterday, and again from 6.30pm to 9.30pm the same day.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "The workforce is united in a fight which is drawing in huge support from across the global trade union movement, and we welcome the assistance of the International Transport Federation in mobilising that support for the RMT and Unite members fighting for pay justice on the platforms today."

The union also welcomed support for the action in a motion tabled in the Scottish Parliament by Labour MSP Elaine Smith.

Calling for the company to withdraw its plans, Mr Cash added: "The threat of pay cuts of up to 30%, while the company bosses are raking it in, has triggered this dispute, which is yet another indictment of the state of corporate Britain today."

Wood Group has not commented specifically on yesterday's action.

But eastern region business unit CEO Dave Stewart said previously: "Our employees' safety and wellbeing remains our top priority, and our commitment is to ensuring it is not compromised during industrial action.

"Although we are extremely disappointed that industrial action will be taken, we respect the right of those employees who choose to do so. Our firm focus remains on reaching a resolution which meets our mutual goal of sustaining these jobs."

Belfast Telegraph


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