Foinaven FPSO workers prepare for strike over inferior redundancy package

Workers onboard the Foinaven floating production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) situated around 193 km west of the Shetland Isles, are poised to strike next month in a dispute over redundancy packages.

Production from the Foinaven field was suspended in 2021. The FPSO is owned by Teekay and operated by Altera staff. The vessel is currently under contract with BP but it is due to end its charter when it will be towed to Hunterston Port. All workers will be made redundant at the end of August.

The dispute centres on offshore members being given a significantly inferior redundancy package compared with Altera’s onshore workforce, the Unite union said. According to the union, which represents 60 workers onboard, 96% of its members have voted to down tools continuously from August 5 on an 84% turnout. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Our offshore members working on the Foinaven FPSO vessel are rightly aggrieved at being treated as second class workers by Altera. Unite will challenge the company on this. We don’t want our members being treated as second class. All our members are asking for is parity in the redundancy package due to the contract coming to an end.”

It has emerged that Altera onshore staff are set to receive redundancy payments of one month’s salary for each completed year of service up to a maximum of 12 months. Offshore members were being offered basic statutory redundancy.

Vic Fraser, Unite industrial officer, claimed that during the industrial action ballot process Altera threatened its members, that if they were to take industrial action they may not receive the redundancy package which had been agreed. “I am proud that the vote confirms our members will not buckle to threats and neither will their union,” he said.

“There have also been ongoing safety concerns raised by workers that both Altera and BP are still forging ahead with plans to move the vessel when virtually the whole crew will be on an all-out indefinite strike. The thought of having safety critical work done while in tow with no qualified, competent crew working is a real concern,” added Fraser.

Teekay said in May that BP is expected to redeliver the 1996 FPSO in August. After delivery, Teekay intends to green-recycle the unit. The majority of the ‘green recycling’ costs are expected to be covered by a contract lumpsum payment from BP.

Adis Ajdin

Adis is an experienced news reporter with a background in finance, media and education. He has written across the spectrum of offshore energy and ocean industries for many years and is a member of International Federation of Journalists. Previously he had written for Navingo media group titles including Offshore Energy, Subsea World News and Marine Energy.
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