UK North Sea workers will strike next week

Around 300 workers of Ponticelli UK and Semco Maritime employed on TotalEnergies’ North Sea assets in the UK will down tools next week following a dispute over cuts to terms and conditions.

Trade union Unite said its members voted overwhelmingly to take strike action, despite an improved offer that was put forward last week but rejected by 85% on an 80% return.

Unite members are now set to take strike action from December 6 until late February 2022, including a permanent overtime ban combined with a series of strike days.

Ponticell/Semco management urgently need to rethink their proposals

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “Unite members at Ponticelli/Semco have given a resounding message to their employers following an overwhelming vote in favour of strike action. These workers do not deserve the treatment being meted out by these employers and refuse to allow this attack on their jobs, pay and conditions. This vote shows that they are prepared to fight back.”

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. While excluding Brand and 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).

Unite regional officer, John Boland, said: “Unite members are rightly extremely angry and frustrated that the Ponticelli/Semco management didn’t listen. Concerns were raised by Unite about the inexperience of these two companies months ago and that inexperience has resulted in the position we are in today.

“Ponticelli/Semco management urgently need to rethink their proposals and come back with an improved offer otherwise they will have a strike on their hands which will be supported all the way by their union.”

PBS director, Andreas Christophersen, said that the consortium was disappointed that the enhanced offer was not accepted, however it has requested that the unions join PBS in talks with ACAS about starting a mediation process to bring the dispute to a conclusion. “We will continue to work with our employees’ representatives and the trade unions,” Christophersen said.

The members involved work on the Total Energies contract on Alisa FSO, Culzean, Dunbar, Elgin Franklin, Gryphon FPSO, North Alwyn & Shetland Gas Plant.

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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