Unite hits out at operator Shell `swimming in record profits’ while workers told to take a pay cut

 Unite the union has today (Monday 10 October) confirmed that more than 100 Kaefer maintenance and repair contractors based at the Mossmorran plant and the St Fergus gas terminal are being balloted for strike action.

The ballot will open on 11 October and close on 25 October.

The Mossmorran site in Fife and the St Fergus near Peterhead are Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) plants operated by Shell PLC.

The dispute centres on a rejected pay offer between 5-7 per cent depending on job grade, along with Kaefer’s repeated breaches of the collective agreement relating to consultation and dispute resolution.

Unite has accused oil and gas companies including Shell of ‘unfettered profiteering’. The billion pounds oil and gas giant posted record earnings of £9.5bn from April to June 2022 - up from £7.6bn in the first quarter of the year. In 2021, Shell PLC made £15.2bn profit after tax.

The Kaefer contractors include scaffold inspectors and supervisors, riggers and rigging supervisors, forklift drivers, general assistants and mechanical supervisors. Without these essential workers production at the plants would be severely impacted and could not be operated safely.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Kaefer is leaving Unite’s members working at the Mossmorran and St Fergus plants with no choice but to ballot for a strike. They are asking workers to take a significant real terms pay cut while the operator Shell, who ultimately will fund any deal, is swimming in record, multi-billion profits. 

“These workers help make Shell’s vast profits – they deserve their fair slice of the pie. These members have their union’s full support in this fight to improve their jobs, pay and conditions.”

The breaches include the introduction of fixed term contracts without consultation at the plants, and a failure by Kaefer management to attend scheduled consultation meetings.

Bob MacGregor, Unite industrial officer, added: “Unite’s members are essential to the condition, safety and maintenance of the Mossmorran and St Fergus plants. Without these workers the plants just couldn’t operate safely. Our members are helping to generate billions of pounds in profit for the operator Shell yet they are being offered a real terms pay cut. This is completely unacceptable along with a number of ongoing issues at the plants including consultation.

“We call on Kaefer and Shell to reengage with Unite before this dispute dramatically escalates.”


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.