While the North Sea has recorded bumper profits, oil and gas workers have chosen to vote in favor of a large-scale strike.
Roughly 1,400 workers over five rig-servicing companies plan to go on strike between late March and early June regarding disputes over jobs, payment, and conditions that could potentially shut down these platforms in the region.
Offshore workers from the contractors Bilfinger UK, Stork, Petrofac, Wood, and Sparrows Group would be involved in the strike that would be coordinated by the Unite union.
Oil and gas operating contractors from BP, EnQuest, Harbour Energy, Shell, and Total would be involved in the strike. The analysis by Global Witness revealed that the rig’s owners made a collective profit of more than £146 billion in 2022.
As the price of the commodity increased due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, North Sea oil and its operators made huge profits. As a result, employees are demanding better pay and a tougher windfall tax on oil and gas firms.
The Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, stated, “Oil and gas companies have been given free rein to enjoy massive windfall profits in the North Sea; drilling concessions are effectively licenses to print money.”
She blamed the companies for “raking it but refusing to give [workers] a fair share of the pie”, leading to “a tsunami of industrial unrest in the offshore sector.” “Unite will support these members every step of the way in their fight for better jobs, pay, and conditions,” she continued.
Greenpeace UK’s head of climate, Mel Evans, stated: “The greed is almost palpable. Oil and gas workers have been hung out to dry, while their bosses and shareholders have raked in tens of billions of pounds over the past year.”
“It’s no wonder they’re taking industrial action to demand a proper windfall tax on these obscene profits, and we stand in solidarity with them.”
Employees like electrical, production, mechanical technicians, deck crew, pipefitters, and crane operators are included in the strike.
Employees from Bilfinger, Stork, Petrofac, Wood, and Sparrows Group have already voted to participate in the strike. With another two ballots, including 80 for Petrofac crew working on BP rigs, and 50 for Worley Services staff working for Harbour Energy this week, the number of offshore strikers might surpass 1,500.
Although 40 employees on BP rigs from Sparrow Groups accepted a pay offer over the weekend, 160 employees on rigs from other companies still plan to go on strike.
“We are working with our clients to deliver our normal operational services during these periods of action while ensuring the ongoing safety of personnel and operations,” a Sparrows Group spokesperson conveyed.
Wood stated that it was “committed to ongoing dialogue” with its employees. “Personnel and operational safety remain our top priorities, and operations are unaffected at this time,” a spokesperson further added.
According to a Bilfinger UK spokesperson, “We engage with unions on all employment matters and are continuing to work with them, our clients, and our employees to find a resolution.”
Petrofac has been asked for comment, but Stork was unreachable.
- Published By Team Timeswire