NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Offshore contractors strike avoided after workers accept offer

North Sea oil rig Image copyright PA

An agreement has been reached between a union and contractors over conditions for offshore contractors.

The Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) and the Unite union have struck a deal over holiday entitlement and rota changes.

On Friday, Unite, the UK's biggest offshore union, said the agreement brought an end to a prolonged dispute.

Following a consultative ballot, more than 50% of members voted to accept the offer.

The deal is for improved holiday entitlement and a joint review of workers' shift rotations.

'Alleviating pressure'

Bill Murray, chief executive of the Offshore Contractors' Association, said: "The OCA has listened to the union's concerns about the potential impact of equal time rotas on health and safety and work-life balance.

"At the same time, union officials and shop stewards understood the need to take action together to reduce costs and become more efficient if we are to prevent installations closing and jobs being lost.

"OCA member companies have committed to monitoring and quarterly reporting on the effects on health and safety and work life balance of equal time rotas.

"We have also clarified the situation regarding holidays, stating that employees will be entitled to request one rotation off from work time in each holiday year and that such requests will not be reasonably refused."

Unite's regional officer Tommy Campbell said: "What our oil and gas sector urgently requires now is a genuine co-operation between government, industry and the offshore trade unions to respond to this ongoing crisis, alleviating the pressure on the industry while protecting employment rights. "

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