Fresh contractor pay cuts ‘intensifying race to the bo...

Fresh contractor pay cuts ‘intensifying race to the bottom’ across North Sea

19 February 2016

Unite, the UK’s biggest offshore trade union, has reiterated its warning to the UK and Scottish governments that a new wave of cuts to offshore contractors pay rates will intensify a race to the bottom in employment standards across the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

The warning follows an announcement this morning (Friday 19 February) by Wood Group PSN that it plans to reduce the rates paid to a third of its UK-based contractors by nine per cent, the third time the company has cut contractor rates since May 2014.

Unite has previously called for emergency tax breaks to alleviate pressure on the industry and release crucial finance to sustain existing jobs, skills and standards across the UKCS, which has been disproportionately affected in comparison with other oil producing regions during the oil price crisis.

Unite regional officer John Boland said: “This is another blow for our members in the Wood Group who have already suffered cuts to their rates of up to 20 per cent, in the worst case examples, over the last two years.

“Our big fear is that this latest cut will spark another domino effect across offshore contractor firms, intensifying the pace of a race to the bottom on jobs, pay, skills and working-time.

“The consequences for employment standards in the offshore sector could be dire where the future outlook is fewer employees working longer and harder for increasingly less.

“Time and again we have warned government about the seriousness of what is happening in our oil and gas sector but the responses so far have amounted to sticking a plaster on a gaping wound.

“How much longer must the offshore work force, which is eroding by the day, need to wait for a meaningful intervention?”


For further information please contact Unite regional officers in Aberdeen John Boland on 07918 630435 and Tommy Campbell on 07810 157920 or Peter Welsh, Unite Scotland Communications on 07810 157931. 

  • Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with 150,000 members across the economy.  The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.