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Unite joins with offshore trade unions to form Offshor...

Unite joins with offshore trade unions to form Offshore Coordinating Group

12 February 2016

Unite, along with other offshore trade unions, has banded together to seek immediate solutions that will not only stem growing job losses but ensure that there is a future for oil.

Last Monday (February 8), Unite, the largest offshore trade union, joined the RMT, the GMB, Balpa, and Nautilus in a Scottish TUC-coordinated press conference to speak as one voice representing hundreds of thousands of oil workers.

“This conference is a loud and clear signal that we as a whole are working as one to show that we acknowledge the crisis in the oil industry and that we need to urgently come up with a plan,” explained Unite Scotland secretary Pat Rafferty.

“And at the forefront of this plan is protecting jobs and terms and conditions as well as standing strong on health and safety standards.” he said.

Rafferty also last week called for an urgent summit, with the aim of bringing together all interested parties, including industry, the Scottish and Westminster governments, as well as trade unions.

“We’ll be demanding fiscal measures from both governments to address the crisis,” he said. “A number of interventions can help ease the pain as the industry weathers the storm, including tax relief.”

At the same time, Rafferty emphasised, any measure that’s called for must “be for the protection of the workforce and not to prop up oil companies’ profit margins”.

“Let’s be clear – despite the crisis, oil companies are still making money,” Rafferty noted. “They’re far from being skint.”

“Oil companies have had tax breaks recently, but so far they have not passed on that relief to their workers, whose jobs are being slashed and whose terms and conditions are being destroyed. They’ve got be held accountable.”

Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke echoed the urgent need for a summit, similar to a summit held in October to address the crisis in steel.

“The offshore oil industry is going through the worst crisis ever, with the price of Brent crude going down to $30 a barrel and falling,” he said. “There’s no evidence we’ve seen that that figure is going to go northwards back to anywhere near $50 for quite some time. The industry’s got to learn how to deal with this and we’ve got bring people together. We can’t be doing this on the basis breaking up skilled workforces.”

“That was the aim of the press conference (Monday 08 Feb) - for all the trade unions to speak as one in order to unite and protect the workforce at this moment of crisis."

ENDS 

For further information please contact Unite regional officers in Aberdeen Tommy Campbell 07810 157920 and John Boland 07729 597874 or Peter Welsh 07810 157931 and Alex Flynn on 07967 665869.