Unite, the UK’s biggest offshore trade union, has today (Thursday 28 January) called on the Prime Minister to clarify the UK government’s long-term plan for the oil and gas sector amid workforce fears of a ‘race to the bottom’ across the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).
The Prime Minister said he would set out ‘a bridge to the future’ for the sustainability of employment but as he announced a new ‘city deal’ for the north east economy , offshore workers are demanding more details about how the UK government will stop the year-long campaign of cuts to jobs, terms and conditions.
Over 65,000 jobs and rising have been lost since January 2015 and turbulent market conditions continue with the price of oil at just over $32 a barrel.
Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “We are pleased that our political leaders are recognising the severity of the situation and investing in the north east economy, which has been hammered by the oil price slump.
“We’ve also heard calls from the Scottish Government for further tax breaks for the offshore industry but workers now need clarity from the Prime Minster about how he intends to safeguard employment, skills and also occupational safety across the UKCS.
“The response of many companies to the crisis has been one of maximum efficiency at the lowest cost possible - imposing heavy cuts to jobs, terms and conditions in the process - but this ‘race to the bottom’ cannot continue indefinitely.
“The workforce must be the biggest beneficiaries of all future investments and tax breaks. This can be achieved by demonstrating that money is directly allocated to employment and improving safety standards instead of beefing-up profit margins.
“The UK needs the oil and gas sector to contribute to energy supply security and economic growth but this cannot be achieved with an increasingly casualised workforce and an occupational safety regime relegated to a second-tier priority.”
For further information please contact Peter Welsh on 07810 157931.
Twitter: @Unitescotland Facebook: UniteScotland Web: www.unitetheunion.org
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.