FALLING oil prices are no excuse for slashing terms and conditions on North Sea platforms, union reps warned yesterday.
RMT, which represents offshore workers on rigs off the east coast of Scotland, this week launched its “3:3 it’s not for me” campaign, in protest at conniving bosses’ attempts to move workers onto a pattern of working three shifts on, three shifts off.
Workers are currently given three shifts off for every two worked.
The union has repeatedly raised the alarm over oil giants adopting a “slash and burn” approach to the crisis in the North Sea oil fields with mass redundancies, worsened conditions and drilling activity scaled back.
News this week that oil company Talisman would dump 300 workers on dole queues followed 250 job losses at Chevron, 250 at Shell, 200 at ConocoPhillips and 300 at BP.
In a debate in Parliament on Tuesday, Aberdeen MP Frank Doran said oil giants’ “poaching” of skilled workers from one another had led to prohibitively high labour costs.
But RMT organiser Jake Molloy said platform workers were not to blame.
“Offshore workers have not seen dramatic increases in pay and conditions, in fact pay has largely been in line with inflation or only slightly above,” he said.
“In fact the big increases went to the senior people, consultants, engineers and others along with inflated bonuses aimed at retaining these high end earners.
“Industry leaders have failed to manage this and have taken the easy option of throwing money at people while oil prices were high, and now the offshore workforce is being asked to pay for that management failure.”