1350 offshore workers predicted to bring dozens of platforms to a ‘standstill’ including BP, Shell and Total assets

Unite the union today (7 April) announced an unprecedented 48-hour major stoppage as part of a ‘tsunami’ of industrial unrest in the offshore sector.

1350 offshore workers across five companies will take strike action to demand a better deal on jobs, pay and conditions.  

The trade union predicts the strike action starting on 24 April until 26 April will bring platforms and the offshore installations of major oil and gas operators to a ‘standstill’. The corporations to be hit by the action include BP, CNRI, EnQuest, Harbour Energy, Ithaca, Shell and Total

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “Oil and gas companies in the offshore sector are enjoying record windfall profits. There’s no question that contractors and operators can easily afford to give Unite members a decent pay rise. The scale of corporate greed in the offshore sector has to be challenged.

1350 offshore workers will now take part in an unprecedented tsunami of industrial action over 48 hours with hundreds more set to join them. 

 Unite will support all our members every step of the way in this fight for better jobs, pay and conditions“.

The five companies to be impacted by the strike action are as follows: Bilfinger UK Limited, Petrofac Facilities Management, Stork Technical Services, Sparrows Offshore Services, and Worley Services UK Limited. The workforce includes electrical, production and mechanical technicians in addition to deck crew, scaffolders crane operators, pipefitters, platers, and riggers. 

John Boland, Unite industrial officer, added: “Unite has received an emphatic mandate in support of strike action. It is historic and it will be the biggest offshore stoppage in a generation.

Unite’s members are determined to get their fair share and to establish a better working environment. This is not exclusively about pay but also working rotas, holidays, and offshore safety.  

The workforce has been taken for granted for years but now their value will be acutely felt when strike action will bring dozens of platforms to a standstill.”

Unite recently blasted the UK Government's inaction on taxing oil firms as BP posted the biggest profits in its history as it doubled to £23 billion in 2022. BP’s bonanza profits come after Shell reports earnings of £32 billion, bringing the combined total profits of the top two energy companies in Britain to a record £55 billion.

Details of the disputes

Around 700 offshore workers at Bilfinger UK Limited will down tools as part of a pay dispute. Bilfinger workers are demanding an increase above the base rate of pay set in the Energy Services Agreement (ESA) for 2022. 48-hour strike action will take place starting from 00:01am on 24th April to 23.59pm on the 25th April.

Over 360 Stork construction workers will also take strike action in a dispute over working rotas and rates of pay. 48-hour strike action will take place starting from 6.30am on Monday 24 April until 6.29am on Wednesday 26 April.

Around 50 Unite members employed by Petrofac Facilities Management Limited on the FPF1 platform will take strike action in a dispute over imposed clawback days. Offshore workers can be asked to work at any time for no additional payment. The operator, Ithaca Energy, has a ‘clawback’ policy of 14 days, double the industry norm of 7 days. 48-hour strike action will take place starting from 6am on Monday 24 April until 5.59am on Wednesday 26 April.

In addition, around 50 Unite members employed Worley Services UK will strike in a dispute which a base rate increase of £7 per hour, and standby payments to be 12-hours full pay. The workers are based on Harbour Energy platforms; Britannia, Jade, Judy and Jasmine. 48-hour strike action will take place starting from 6am on Monday 24 April until 5.59am on Wednesday 26 April.

The announcement follows 48-hour strike action taken this week by around 150 Sparrows Offshore Services workers across more than 20 oil and gas platforms in a dispute over pay. The action impacts on a number of major operators including Shell, Apache and Harbour Energy.  Strike action will take place starting from 6.30am on 24 April until 6.29am on 25th April instead of 19 to 21 April as previously announced.

Unite also has strike mandates at Petrofac BP covering around 100 members and over 80 members employed by the Wood Group on TAQA assets but no strike dates have been announced in relation to these disputes.


Notes to Editors: 

Strike mandates: 

Bilfinger - Yes to strike action – 97% 

Petrofac Facilities Management Limited - Yes to strike action – 100%.

Sparrows Offshore Services – Yes to strike action - 95.5%.

Stork - Yes to strike action - 98%.

Worley Services UK Limited – Yes to strike action – 100%.

For media enquiries contact: Andrew Brady on 07810 157922 or [email protected]

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.