13 Days Remaining

Friday 19th
posted by Peter Lazenby in Britain

BOSSES have made a new offer on working conditions to North Sea gas and oil rig workers on the eve of a ballot on strike action.

Members of general unions GMB and Unite working off the coast of Scotland had responded to management attempts to impose unilateral changes, in breach of a long-standing agreement, by voting for formal ballots.

The Offshore Contractors Agreement exists between the unions and the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA), which represents employers.

Talks in May failed to resolve the differences, which GMB said involved bringing in new rosters without carrying out proper risk assessments and consultations.

GMB said the changes would “have an adverse impact on members’ safety, health and quality time.”

Bosses also wanted to alter rates of wages, sick pay and holiday patterns, claiming that falling oil prices made these changes necessary.

The workers voted overwhelmingly for a formal ballot on industrial action to fight the plans.

However, as the two unions moved towards a formal ballot, bosses asked for a new meeting in Aberdeen at which new proposals were put forward.

The unions have not revealed what the proposals are but GMB national officer David Hulse said: “These latest talks with OCA went well. We have a new offer on the table. We will now put the improved offer to members for them to consider.

“We have put giving notice of the official strike ballot on hold while members consider the new offer. We will continue to prepare for the ballot should it be necessary to go ahead with it.”