Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty:
“The continued grounding of the L2 fleet – the same type involved in last Friday’s crash resulting in four fatalities and also in the April 2009 crash with sixteen fatalities - is the bare minimum that the industry can do until the recovered black box’s data fully establishes why this tragedy occurred.
“The decision of the Helicopter Safety Steering Group (HSSG) to return the Super Puma L type, L1 type and the EC225 type, as per its original service plan, to UK offshore operations should be approached with caution and sensitivity.
“Confidence has been shattered and the industry needs to provide substantive evidence - not opinion - to its workers demonstrating the airworthiness of the helicopters that are now returning to operations.
“At the same time, Unite is demanding guarantees from employers that workers who feel unable to fly will not be subject to pressure or the threat of dismissal. The industry cannot merely expect the workforce to simply get their boots on and get back to work.
“A phased return of operations must now take place to clear the backlog of workers offshore waiting to get home to their families and those who want to get back to work and earn their keep - but the safety of the workforce must remain paramount throughout this process.”
"Looking to the future and moving forward, the recovery of the helicopter's black box and the data held within will hopefully hold the key to establishing why this happened.
"However, from the initial information provided by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) on Thursday afternoon, it's clear that some serious questions need answering. Crucially, why did the helicopter remain intact and upright after it hit the water only to rapidly invert leaving people struggling or unable to get out?
"Furthermore, particularly in light of the last eighteen months where the UK offshore industry has been blighted by evacuations of offshore installations in addition to helicopter ditches, a forensic analysis into offshore health and safety must take place and an emergency Scottish Parliamentary debate should be the starting point for this.”
Notes to Editors: For further information please contact Unite regional industrial officers in Aberdeen, John Taylor on 07810 157919 & Tommy Campbell on 07810157920 or Peter Welsh in Unite Scotland communications on 07810 157931.