Pay and working rotas at core of latest dispute

Unite the union confirmed today (4 September) that offshore workers employed by Petrofac Facilities Management Limited on the Kittiwake platform are to be balloted on strike action.

Around 30 Unite members on the EnQuest owned asset will take part in the ballot which opens on 11 September and closes on 12 October. This includes electrical, production and mechanical technicians in addition to deck crew, scaffolders and crane operators. 

Unite’s members are demanding that the Energy Services Agreement (ESA) three per cent uplift in July 2022, be applied to the workers. Petrofac to date has not applied the increase under the terms and conditions of the ESA which covers around 5,000 workers in the UK Continental Shelf. The ESA is signed by 16 contractors, as well as three unions including Unite.

 Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s Petrofac membership on Kittiwake still haven’t received what is rightfully theirs. It’s completely unacceptable that a three per cent uplift applied to July last year is still not in their pockets. Our members are also demanding that the draconian fourteen days clawback policy also be fixed immediately or strike action will be on the horizon. Unite will continue to fully support our members in the fight to secure better jobs, pay and conditions in the offshore sector.”

Offshore workers can be asked to work at any time for no additional payment. The operator, EnQuest, has a ‘clawback’ policy of 14 days, double the industry norm of seven days. The policy is estimated to be worth the financial equivalent of £6,000 in lost income per person in some instances. Unite is insisting on a reduction in the ‘clawback days’ policy from 14 days to seven, and for it to be applied from January 2023.

John Boland, Unite industrial officer, added: “Unite’s members on EnQuest’s Kittiwake platform have been treated in a really rotten way by Petrofac. Pay increases were paid out to all of Petrofac’s contractors on dozens upon dozens of other offshore assets operated by various companies, but not those workers on Kittiwake.”

“Our members have had enough, and it’s a disgrace that they may have to take strike action to get what is owed to them. There is a small window of opportunity for Petrofac to do the right thing and we would encourage them to do so before any strike action takes place.”