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1,300 UK offshore workers go on major 48-hour strike

25 April 2023

Around 1,300 offshore workers began a major 48-hour strike on April 24 which would cause “severe problems” for operators, trade union Unite said. Ahead of the strike action, Unite said it could result in production shutdowns and would impact oil and gas operators including BP, CNRI, EnQuest, Harbour, Ithaca, Shell, TAQA and Total.

Image: Unite Scotland
Image: Unite Scotland

The strike action includes electrical, production and mechanical technicians in addition to deck crew, scaffolders, crane operators, pipefitters, platers, and riggers working for Bilfinger UK Limited, Petrofac Facilities Management, Stork Technical Services, and Sparrows Offshore Services. Unite said that it predicts production shutdowns due to the specialised work that its members undertake on offshore platforms and assets.

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “Oil and gas companies are enjoying record windfall profits, and they can easily afford to give our members a decent pay rise. The 48-hour strike action will only be the start of the tsunami of industrial unrest if contractors and operators refuse to give our offshore members the better jobs, pay and conditions they deserve. The scale of corporate greed in the offshore sector has to be challenged, and it will be by Unite.”

Unite recently confirmed that around 70 offshore workers employed by TotalEnergies on the Elgin Franklin and North Alwyn platforms along with the Shetland Gas Plant are being balloted on strike action. The ballots close on May 5.

Unite has strike mandates at Petrofac BP covering around 100 members, and over 80 members employed by the Wood Group on TAQA assets. No strike dates have been announced in relation to these disputes. Unite also has a further strike mandate at Worley Services UK Limited involving 50 members but action has been suspended while talks continue with the company.

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