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BP Faces Platform Workers’ Strike

Petrofac workers on BP offshore platforms plan to walk out of all platforms as a result of an unresolved dispute regarding work rota arrangements.

“The workforce are rightly demanding that their rotas be changed from the hated 3:3, and to have more time off with their families. So, we call on BP and Petrofac to listen to our members’ reasonable request, and to put the welfare of their workforce first,” City AM quoted a regional industrial officer for trade union Unite, John Boland, as saying.

The workers are demanding a 3:4 ratio between leave and work, with three weeks of paid leave versus the two that platform operators and owners are offering. The votes in favor of industrial action have been overwhelming, according to Boland. The dates of the strike will be announced later.

This is not the first spark of disgruntlement among offshore platform workers in the North Sea. Earlier this month workers striked at four Total platforms operated by Petrofac and Aker. More than 200 workers voted for the industrial action, the BBC reported at the time. The 24-hour strikes were scheduled for two days in March and two days in April.

Again, the issue were the rotas Total had imposed on the platform crews, a 3:3 scheme, which Unite claimed was a health risk.

For now, the strikes have not disrupted production at any field, but if it gathers enough steam, it might have an effect on the normal operation of a recovering industry.

Earlier this week, Oil and Gas UK, the energy industry association, boasted that the UK’s North Sea had, since 2014, swung back into growth mode as far as production is concerned after 14 years of declines thanks to better recovery rates and several new discoveries. OGUK also warned that investments had to keep coming in order to avert another decline and keep production relatively stable in the coming decade.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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