We cannot accept that contracted workers have to do the same jobs, take the same risks but should work under lower level of working conditions

Today, our affiliated trade unions, Unite the Union and RMT, that are organised in the Wood Group are going on a 24-hour strike, over an unresolved dispute concerning working conditions and pay cuts. Wood Group is operating maintenance work on Shell Offshore Oil and Gas Platforms in the Brent Field on the North Sea. Using the decrease of oil prices as a justification, Wood Group’s management decided to cut salaries by 30% and change from a 2-week to a 3-week working cycle.

After unsuccessful attempts to negotiate with the Wood Group and settle the dispute, members of Unite the Union and RMT backed the strike action in a vote earlier this month.

IndustriAll Europe is very concerned about the developments and fully supports Unite the Union and RMT members in their strike actions. Working on offshore platforms means working in very harsh conditions, away from families and homes, which makes the current level of pay and work conditions more than justified and indispensable for the health and safety of those workers. In any case, the employees of the Wood Group that are contracted to the Shell platforms should enjoy the same working conditions as their fellow workers at Shell.

“We cannot accept that contracted workers have to do the same jobs, take the same risks but should work under lower level of working conditions”, said Luc Triangle, General Secretary of industriAll Europe. “This could result in cutting back on the safety of the workers in order to stay profitable, but serious accidents on offshore platforms have taught us that this cannot be an option! We will stand side by side with our colleagues and defend their actions in order to achieve a meaningful solution and settlement of the dispute that offers equal, fair and quality working conditions for all offshore oil workers in Europe”, he concluded.

industriAll Europe, and especially its working group on Offshore Safety, involving our affiliated trade unions from countries with major offshore oil and gas extraction business in the UK, Scandinavia, the Netherlands and also Greece, is committed to defend the highest safety culture and provisions for offshore operations even in times of a gloomy business situation.

industriAll Europe's Congress in Madrid adopted a motion on the health of safety for offshore workers that makes our objective clear:“The drop in oil prices has aggravated the situation and put thousands of workers out of work. The oil industry has gone to tremendous lengths to cut costs. The cost cutting has also had a negative effect on safety in the whole industry and especially on the safety culture. The safety culture takes many years to create and just a short time to destroy. We see erosion of safety culture as the gravest threat to the health and safety of our offshore members and their loved ones. This erosion has to be combatted on all levels.” See full text of the motion here (DE, EN & FR).

We call our affiliates to support UNITE and RMT in their fight by sending messages of support and solidarity to:UNITE THE UNION: offshoreunite@gmail.com and RMT: oilc.rmt.secretary@gmail.com

You can also show support and follow developments on the Unite Offshore Facebook page and on Twitter @UniteOffshore.