Unite the union is balloting offshore members at Total E&P UK who work on the Alwyn, Elgin and Dunbar platforms over company proposals to review terms and conditions.
The company has rejected Unite’s proposal to reduce the number of ‘claw-back’ days worked offshore, which is one of the key issues facing workers offshore. The days were given up for no extra payments in order to assist Total E&P UK at the height of the downturn. The price of a barrel of oil fell from between $110 and $120 during 2011-2014 to around $25 a barrel in early 2016. However, the price of oil recently hit $80 a barrel for the first time in four years. It is projected by global analysts that over the coming months the price could hit $100 a barrel.
A counter proposal from Total E&P UK to move to a three on/three off rota, which will lead to a further increase in the days worked offshore, has further infuriated Unite members. A report by Robert Gordon University identified that workers on three-week, equal-time rotas were nearly twice as likely to experience ill health as those on two-on-two-off shifts. The three on/three off rota pattern is now worked by 56 per cent of the workforce offshore, compared with just 17 per cent working the same pattern in 2007.
Wullie Wallace, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “The intransigence of Total E&P in the context of our members doing all they could to help the company during the downturn is staggering. Unite members gave up their claw-back days for no extra payment and instead the company’s idea of a reward is to impose extra working days.
"The proposal to enforce three week shift rotas is also completely unacceptable. No one should be expected to work 21 days in a row, working 12 hour shifts, being pushed to the limits of what is safe mentally and physically. Unite members are resolute in opposing these proposals and we have no option but to move towards a ballot for industrial action.”
The ballot for action closes on 28 June.
For more information contact Wullie Wallace on 01224645271 or 07712444952.