Unite warns 900 members could be balloted over strike action 

Unite the union today (28 July) confirmed its offshore catering members have rejected a real terms pay cut as the nation’s leading offshore trade union warned it could now ballot over 900 workers on strike action.

88 per cent of Unite’s members covered under Catering Offshore Trade Association (COTA) rejected a 4 per cent increase on basic pay from September 2023. 

Over 90 per cent also indicated a willingness to take strike action in a consultative ballot in order to fight for a higher pay offer with the broader inflation measure (RPI) currently standing at 10.7 per cent. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The 4 per cent pay offer on the table from COTA is totally unpalatable to our members with inflation remaining in double digits. The offshore caterers ensure that the wider workforce is fed, cleaned and watered. Unite will fully support our COTA members in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

COTA covers over 3,000 workers in offshore catering companies including Aramark, Conntrak, Entier, ESS, FOSS & ESG, and Sodexo. Unite’s membership delivers catering, laundry and ancillary services across oil and gas installations in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS). 

Shauna Wright, Unite industrial officer, added: “Companies in the offshore sector are awash with profits. Over 900 Unite members provide essential services on offshore installations helping to ensure that operations run smoothly. Without them life would become pretty unpleasant very quickly. We remain open to further negotiations with COTA but the reality is that unless there is some significant movement we will have no option but to ballot our members on strike action.”