NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Offshore workers accept new pay deal

Brent Bravo Image copyright Shell
Image caption Brent Bravo was one of the platforms involved

Offshore workers for Wood Group on platforms operated by Shell have voted to accept a new pay and conditions package and end a series of strikes.

The Unite union said they accepted the financial pressure on oil operators, but had won concessions on protecting conditions of service.

The industrial action, which took place in July and August, was the first of its kind in decades.

Wood Group welcomed the result, saying it had been a "difficult period".

The ballot saw 105 votes for acceptance and 82 against among Unite members and 53% of RMT members vote in favour of the deal.

'Difficult times'

During the action, both 48-hour and 24-hour strikes were held on seven Shell-operated platforms.

The platforms involved were the Curlew, Brent Alpha, Brent Bravo, Brent Charlie, Nelson, Gannet and Shearwater.

Unite regional officer John Boland said: "Our negotiations with Wood Group allowed us to reduce the levels of cuts being proposed to our members' wages and terms and conditions.

"We were able to secure improvements to competency payments and the introduction of a flexibility payment. Threats to life insurance, health care and sick pay have been removed."

'Market conditions'

Mr Boland said his members had a commitment of greater work security for ad-hoc workers.

He added: "As ever, our members have shown themselves willing to be open to meaningful negotiations and are not blind to the challenges facing the offshore sector in these difficult times - but they have also shown they will not be treated unfairly."

Aberdeen-based Wood Group provides maintenance and construction to Shell and signed a three-year extension to its contract earlier this year.

Image copyright Shell
Image caption Workers on seven Shell platforms were involved in the strike action

Dave Stewart, the company's eastern region chief executive, said: "We recognise that this has been a difficult period for everyone involved and we respect the workforce for accepting this revised proposal in relation to the current market conditions.

"This resolution was enabled by the strong engagement within the joint working group of Wood Group representatives, union officials and shop stewards. We are committed to continuing to build on the relationships formed and regular engagement with our offshore workforce."

Paul Goodfellow from Shell said the company was pleased a solution had been reached.

He added: "We have been clear that change was essential to ensure that the UK North Sea remains competitive.

"This agreement is a positive step towards addressing the challenge of operating in a low oil price environment.

"Shell looks forward to working with Wood Group, Unite and the RMT to ensure that the North Sea has a strong and sustainable future."

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