Unions resist company’s cuts to wages to pay for low oil prices
NORTH Sea oil rig workers went on strike for the first time in almost 30 years yesterday after bosses tried to make them pay for a dive in oil prices by slashing pay and allowances.
Members of the RMT and Unite unions employed by the Wood Group on Shell platforms began the 24-hour stoppage at 6.30am for 24 hours. An overtime ban has also been declared.
The unions say the company’s plans could lead to pay and allowances falling by as much as 30 per cent.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said the workers had already suffered redundancies and increased workloads, adding that they were well aware that the company chief executive has received a pay increase of 28 per cent to bring him up to £600,000.
“It is obscene that while the top bosses are lining their own pockets they are kicking the workforce from pillar to post,” Mr Cash said.
“This brave group of workers are taking a stand against the greed and savagery that is a mark of corporate Britain in 2016. They deserve the full support of the entire trade union movement.”
Unite regional officer John Boland said the dispute was the first in the North Sea for three decades and that the union’s members felt “backed into a corner.”
He said: “To say that we are disappointed it has had to come to this is an understatement, but bosses at Wood Group are simply not listening.
“Our members have been faced with changes to shift patterns which have seen them working longer offshore for the same pay as well as having three rounds of redundancies imposed on them.
“This attack on their pay and allowances has pushed our members too far this time.
“For decades, oil and gas companies across the North Sea have made hay while the sun shone and become very profitable on the back of the hard work and dedication of our members.
“Now the weather has turned for the industry, they are using the downturn to attack the pay, terms and conditions of our members.”
RMT regional organiser Jake Molloy called for any “painful readjustments” stemming from the current low level of oil prices to be picked up by Wood Group shareholders and Shell.
Wood Group eastern region boss Dave Stewart said the company was “extremely disappointed” by the industrial action.