Unite urges talks before dispute escalates

Unite the union is to ballot over 300 offshore drilling and contract maintenance workers covered by the United Kingdom Drilling Contractors Association (UKDCA).

The ballot which opens today (22 August) and closes on 27 September follows Unite members rejecting a 5 per cent pay offer.  The UKDCA which covers around 600 workers includes a number of major offshore contractors including Archer, Maersk, Transocean and Odfjell.  

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: Unite’s UKDCA members are always the first to suffer when there is a downturn offshore and the last to benefit when there is an upturn - that’s if they even benefit at all. UKDCA drill crews have had no meaningful pay increase for a number of years despite the consistently high price of oil and gas, and record operator profits. Our members have their union’s full support in fighting for better jobs, pay and conditions offshore.”

Earlier this month Unite accused BP of ‘unfettered profiteering’ as the oil and gas giant reported its biggest quarterly profit for 14 years which hit $8.45bn (£6.9bn) between April and June - more than three times the amount it made in the same period last year.

Vic Fraser Unite industrial officer, added: “Inflation stands at a forty year high and it’s expected to rise further with energy bills having risen by 54%. Drilling companies have major problems in retaining and re-employing experienced drill crew yet they want to pay our members a pittance. Unite always remains open to meaningful dialogue and we urge the UKDCA to get back round the table before the dispute escalates to strike action.”


Notes to Editor

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