Unite has urged employers under the Caterers Offshore Trade Association (COTA) agreement to return to the negotiating table after members voted to take strike action today (Wednesday 21 October) over a long-standing pay dispute.
The refusal of the COTA employers, including facilities giants Sodexho and Compass who have combined profits of over £1.5 billion, to honour the second year of a two-year pay deal worth around 1.3 per cent, resulted in an industrial action ballot which saw 54.2 per cent of members vote for strike action and 62.7 per cent voting for action short of strike.
Next steps will be determined shortly by the union with a dispute certain to affect catering and ancillary services across all installations operating in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).
Unite Regional Officer John Boland said, “The result shows that the majority of our COTA members are not prepared to sit-back and let employers worth billions revoke their pay agreement – the 1.3 per cent required to settle this dispute is mere drop in the ocean for companies like Sodexho.
“We are not blind to the significant challenges facing our industry, our members have been at the coal-face of the downturn from the start, but it sets a dangerous precedent for employment rights if companies are able to impose change without negotiation and that’s why we are looking at a strike scenario.
“We are disappointed the employers have chosen not to resolve this matter amicably and the door remains open for discussion, whether it’s face to face or through the auspices of Acas, if they want to avoid serious disruption to catering and ancillary services across the North Sea but we are rapidly running out of time.”
For further information please contact Unite Regional Officer John Boland on 07918 630435 or Peter Welsh on 07810157931.
- Details of the COTA ballot result - 21 October 2015 [PDF]
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.