OFFSHORE workers issued a strike threat to North Sea oil bosses yesterday over plans to force through shift changes and cuts to pay and leave in response the the oil price crash.
Unite industrial officer Tommy Campbell said the union will launch a consultative ballot of its Offshore Contractor Association (OCA) membership after a failure to agree with bosses last Friday over “opportunistic” changes to working conditions being imposed.
About 2,500 workers — including electricians, plumbers, mechanics and riggers — will be asked to consider a range of industrial action up to and including strikes.
Mr Campbell said: “Oil prices will recover but knee-jerk cuts to jobs and standards will only undermine the future prosperity and safety of the industry in the long term.”
He said the North Sea contractors had “refused to negotiate over shift pattern changes from two weeks on, three weeks off” and instead had “sought to railroad through shifts of three weeks on, three weeks off and cuts to pension payments, sick pay and holiday leave.
“The downturn in the oil price has seen our members’ terms and conditions under attack like never before and while the threat of severe cuts hangs over them contractors are offering no safeguards in return.
“What we want is for the OCA to work with us to preserve jobs, skills and sustain offshore safety rather than impose these opportunistic, unsustainable and unworkable changes to livelihoods.”