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North Sea Offshore Workers Stage Fresh Strike Over Pay Cuts

Hundreds of workers on Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) platforms in the North Sea began a new 48-hour strike on Thursday to protest against pay cuts that Shell’s contractor Wood Group has planned.

Wood Group and some 400 of its employees on seven Shell platforms in the North Sea have been in a bitter dispute over planned pay cuts and altered working conditions for months.

Last week, the oil platform workers stopped work for 24 hours in what was the largest industrial action in the North Sea in the past 28 years. In addition to the 24-hour strike, the workers approved a ban on overtime and further temporary suspensions of work in the coming weeks.

Earlier in July, the RMT and Unite trade unions at Wood Group had voted overwhelmingly in support of strike actions over what they described as a “swingeing” 30-percent pay cut.

Upon announcing the latest industrial action on Thursday, the RMT union said in its statement: “After savage redundancies and attacks on workload and working conditions this group of offshore workers have been told that they are going to be railroaded into accepting pay cuts of up to 30%. They have chosen not to bend the knee, they have chosen to stand up and fight.”

Still, the unions said they remained available for “serious and meaningful talks” with Wood Group.

Speaking to a Scottish radio, Unite’s union regional officer John Boland has called upon Shell to step in and “try and help to resolve this”.

Shell’s contractor, Wood Group, has said that it was “hugely disappointed that the action was progressing”, and a Shell spokesperson has also expressed regret over the strike, the BBC reports.

Shell has said that its oil and gas production would not be affected by the industrial action, according to Platts.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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