Unite, the UK’s largest union, will tell offshore industry leaders at a crucial meeting of the Helicopter Safety Steering Group (HSSG) in Aberdeen today (Wednesday 28 August) that all Super Pumas must remain grounded until the cause of Friday’s crash is identified and that workers refusing to fly must be supported by their employers.
Confidence among the workforce in the Super Puma types - which make up 50 per cent of the UK offshore industry’s 75 serving helicopters - has been shattered by the fifth ditching in four years, resulting in a total of 20 fatalities.
Unite will also demand answers to reports that workers on the Borgsten Dolphin platform were briefed by oil company reps to accept the risks of flying on Super Pumas or stop working offshore, breaking guarantees from industry bosses to HSSG trade unions that workers would be under no pressure to fly in the aftermath of the October 2012 Super Puma ditching.
Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “The Super Puma fleet must remain grounded at the very least until the black box from Friday’s crash is recovered and its data reveals the cause of this catastrophe – this isn’t up for debate.
“The industry will also have to provide some serious answers to the reports exposing the briefing of workers on the Borgsten Dolphin. That there is a massive logistical challenge in returning workers stuck offshore is undeniable, likewise with those workers who have to get out and earn their keep, but safety is paramount in these extraordinary circumstances.
“We’re in a situation here where more lives have been lost, anger and fear among the workforce is on the rise and there are more questions to be asked rather than answers given over the safety of offshore helicopter transfers.
“This is a critical moment for the offshore industry and if these companies are serious about even starting to rebuild its shattered reputation then they will listen to, work with and protect the one resource it cannot do without – it’s people.”
For further information please contact Peter Welsh, Unite Scotland communications, on 07810 157931.
Notes to editors:
- Unite regional industrial officer John Taylor - 07810 157919 (mob) - will represent Unite at Wednesday’s HSSG meeting, 12:00 at the UK Oil & Gas Office, 62 Market Street, Aberdeen, AB11 5BJ and will be available interviews before and after.