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UK Strikes To Cause A 'Tsunami' Of Unrest For North Sea Oil And Gas

Dozens of oil and gas platforms in the UK North Sea could come to a standstill in the coming weeks after 1,400 offshore workers at five contractor companies have voted to initiate strikes to demand better pay and working conditions, Unite the union said on Monday.

The industrial action is expected to hit platforms of major companies operating on the UK Continental Shelf including BP, Shell, TotalEnergies, CNRI, EnQuest, Harbour Energy, and Ithaca Energy, the union said in a statement.

The prospective action includes electrical, production, and mechanical technicians in addition to deck crew, scaffolders crane operators, pipefitters, platers, and riggers working for Bilfinger UK Limited, Stork construction, Petrofac Facilities Management, the Wood Group UK Limited, and Sparrows Offshore Services, according to the union. Offshore workers at those five companies have overwhelmingly voted in recent days to begin strike action as they demand a better deal on jobs, pay, and conditions.

“Unite, whose members will take action at companies enjoying record-busting profits, predicts that platforms and offshore installations will be brought to a ‘standstill’ due to the specialised roles its members undertake,” the union said.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Oil and gas companies have been given free rein to enjoy massive windfall profits in the North Sea; drilling concessions are effectively licences to print money.”

“1400 offshore workers are now set to take strike action against these employers who are raking it but refusing to give them a fair share of the pie. This will create a tsunami of industrial unrest in the offshore sector,” Graham added.

“Unite will support these members every step of the way in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

Strike action is set to hit various oil and gas platforms offshore the UK from March 29 and until June 7 in a series of 24, 48, and 72-hour stoppages, the union said.

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This week, workers at Petrofac BP and at Worley Services UK Limited on Harbour Energy platforms are also expected to vote on strike actions in disputes over pay.  

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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