Union anger over Bilfinger attack on workers’ rights

Union anger over Bilfinger attack on workers’ rights

30 November 2016

Three trade unions are to fight to restore workers’ rights after Bilfinger Salamis Offshore UK pulled out of a joint union collective bargaining agreement. 

Bilfinger have announced that they will no longer be part of the Offshore Contractors Association agreement with the trade unions, effectively leaving their workers without trade union representation when it comes to collective bargaining. 

The move has angered trade unions, and raised fears about the company’s future plans in terms of pay, jobs and working conditions. 

Unite, GMB and RMT have now written to Bilfinger Salamis Offshore UK asking for voluntary recognition of their rights to represent workers in collective bargaining. 

A joint union spokesperson said: “Bilfinger’s actions are causing massive concern among workers, who now have justified concerns about their future with the company. 

“Trade unions are the way that workers come together to support each other, and it is completely unacceptable for Bilfinger Salamis offshore  workers to be left without trade union recognition for collective bargaining.

“We have asked Bilfinger to enter into a voluntary agreement to recognise the three unions, but if the company refuses, we are determined to push ahead under employment law and seek statutory trade union recognition. 

“However Unite, GMB and RMT believe it is in everyone’s interest to try and achieve the recognition agreement through a voluntary process and we want to meet with Bilfinger Salamis UK as soon as possible to discuss that. We have also offered to have these discussions with the assistance of the conciliation service ACAS.”

If there is no voluntary agreement, the three trade unions say they will apply as a joint Trade Union Group under the Employment Relations Act 1999 to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) for the legal right to be recognised for Collective Bargaining purposes.