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Labour shadow Scottish secretary meets offshore shop s...

Labour shadow Scottish secretary meets offshore shop stewards

11 August 2016

Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary is to meet with shop stewards from the oil and gas industry, in the middle of the biggest North Sea dispute for a generation.

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson will visit Aberdeen today (Thursday 11 August) as part of the focus on understanding and responding to the challenges facing the North Sea oil and gas industry. 

During his visit he will speak with Unite shop stewards who represent members working for offshore contractors, including Wood Group, where workers recently took part in the first North Sea strike action for 28 years in protest at planned cuts of up to 30 per cent in their pay and allowances. Further strikes dates were announced this week.

Dave Anderson will also meet union officials from the Offshore Coordinating Group (OCG) and with Labour members of Aberdeen city council who support the OCG’s call for a national UK summit to address the challenges facing the oil and gas industry.

Dave Anderson said: “Labour is focused on working with unions and employers to ensure that we can maximise the economic opportunities from the North Sea. I am coming to Aberdeen to listen and to help. 

“However one thing is certain – if the industry is to thrive, we need companies to co-operate with their workers and treat them fairly.  I am very pleased to be able to meet trade unionists standing up for their rights. In the North Sea and right across the country, we need an economy that works for the many and not just the few.”

Unite’s Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “We were very pleased when Dave Anderson accepted the invitation to meet our shop stewards. Taking strike action is always a last resort for trade union members, and the support and solidarity that workers receive from the labour movement is extremely important.

“Last year, Wood Group made a profit of $320 million before tax, and their former chief executive was paid £1.15 million. But the company has been making that money on the backs of their workers – with redundancies, pay cuts, and attacks on working conditions. 

“We urge Wood Group to get back around the table with Unite and other trade unions, so that we can come to a fair and sustainable settlement to this dispute.”

As part of the dispute, Unite organised a 24-hour stoppage on Tuesday 26 July, followed by a series of three-hour stoppages, and then a 48-hour stoppage from Thursday 4 August. Further strike action is planned from 15 August, with a series of 24-hour and six-hour stoppages.

The strikes will affect platforms owned by multi-national oil company Shell, including Brent Alpha, Brent Bravo, Brent Charlie, Curlew, Gannet, Nelson and Shearwater. 

During the dispute the striking workers have received declarations of support from trade unionists across the globe, including those working in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. There have also been demonstrations at Wood Group's Aberdeen headquarters. 

ENDS

Dave Anderson will meet Unite offshore representatives at 14.30 on Thursday 11 August, at Unite the union’s offices, 42-44 King Street, Aberdeen, AB24 5TJ. 

For further information, for interview, or to arrange a photo / filming opportunity, contact Unite Scotland media officer David Eyre on 07960 451631.

Notes to editors:

  • The Offshore Coordinating Group of offshore unions (UNITE, RMT, GMB, Nautilus International and BALPA) was launched in February 2016. 
  • Details of Wood Group’s profits and remuneration of senior managers are contained in the company’s annual report.
  • Unite and the RMT trade unions have announced that members working for Wood Group on Shell’s Curlew platform will take part in 24-hour stoppages on 15, 22 and 29 August 2016. 
  • Members on Brent Alpha and Brent Bravo will take part in 24-hour stoppages 16, 23 and 30 August 2016.
  • Members on the Nelson, Gannet and Shearwater platforms will take part in 24-hour stoppages 17, 24 and 31 August 2016.
  • Members on the Brent Charlie platform will take 6 hour stoppages commencing at 06:30 hours and 18:30 hours on 16, 20, 23, 27 and 30 August 2016 and 3 September 2016.