EuropeOffshore

Hundreds of UK offshore workers set to strike

Around 300 workers of Ponticelli UK and Semco Maritime employed on TotalEnergies’ North Sea assets in the UK have voted in favor of going on strike, following a dispute over cuts to terms and conditions, trade union Unite has confirmed.

Unite members, who work on Alisa FSO, Culzean, Dunbar, Elgin Franklin, Gryphon FPSO, North Alwyn & Shetland Gas Plant, are now set to take strike action, including an overtime ban, from early December until late February 2022.

Unite’s Ponticelli UK members voted to take strike action by 93.6% on a return of 64.8%, and Semco Maritime members voted to take strike action by 90.3% on a 61.4% return.

“Unite members at Ponticelli/Semco have made their intentions clear in the ballot. They are going to push back against this attack on their jobs, pay and conditions. Those making the decisions within these companies clearly lack experience and sound judgment. They need to rethink their proposals and come back with an improved offer. Otherwise, they are going to face determined industrial action which will be supported all the way by the union,” said Unite general secretary Sharon Graham.

Unite regional officer, John Boland, added: “Unite members are beyond angry and frustrated. We now see that Unite was right when we raised concerns about the inexperience of these two companies and that that inexperience would result in cost cutting for our members’ terms and conditions as well as jobs.

“These workers have worked through the Covid pandemic, losing leave days while involved in Covid testing and while in isolation, they are the people that have kept North Sea platforms producing oil and gas for Total. But now that oil and gas prices are at a new high, vaccines have greatly reduced the impact of Covid, and Total are making millions in profits, our members are being asked to accept cuts to their terms and conditions and redundancies.

“The only way our members can stop these attacks on pay and conditions is to fight for them. This ballot result is a clear mandate that our members will not accept this appalling treatment.”

Aberdeen-based consortium PBS, formed of Ponticelli, Brand Energy & Infrastructure Services and Semco, said earlier it was looking at possible redundancy proposals that could lead to a 10% reduction in its headcount. Although not related to job cuts, Unite previously raised concerns over the slashes proposed to pay where terms and conditions have left certain workers facing a drop in their pension of up to £40,000 ($53,750).

PBS director Andreas Christophersen commented: “While disappointed with the result of the ballot, we will continue to work closely with our employee representatives and unions to achieve the solutions which best meet the needs of all parties from the consultation.

“The decision to make changes to anyone’s terms and conditions is not taken lightly, and we are appreciative of the efforts that have gone into ensuring assets have been able to operate since the beginning of the pandemic.”

Adis Ajdin

Adis is an experienced news reporter with a backgroud 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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