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NORTH Sea oil and gas workers could bring production to a grinding halt in the biggest offshore dispute in a generation, after voting overwhelmingly in favour of strike action.
Unite has received overwhelming support from members to organise against four companies key to oil and gas industry majors’ ability to function in the North Sea.
Ballots across Bilfinger, Stork, and Wood Group UK all delivered over 90 per cent in favour of strike action, with the ballot at Petrofac securing 100 per cent support.
The disputes cover a broad range of essential workers — including deck crew, crane operators and electricians — on pay, holiday entitlements and other terms and conditions.
The action comes just a month after some of the biggest players on the UK Continental Shelf — a series of waters over which the United Kingdom has mineral rights — announced record-breaking profits, with BP and Shell raking in £23 billion and £32bn respectively, as oil and gas prices rise with little change to operators’ costs.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Oil and gas companies have been given free rein to enjoy massive windfall profits in the North Sea — drilling concessions are effectively licences to print money.
“Offshore workers are now set to take strike action against these employers who are raking it but refusing to give them a fair share of the pie.
“This will create a tsunami of industrial unrest in the offshore sector.
“Unite will support these members every step of the way in their fight for better jobs, pay, and conditions.”
Unite industrial officer John Bolland said the ballot result shows unprecedented support in favour of industrial action in our territorial waters.
“It is the biggest mandate we have received in a generation in the offshore sector,” he said.
“There is no doubt that this is directly linked to oil and gas companies reaping record profits while the workforce gets scraps from the table.
“Unite’s members are angry at the corporate greed being shown by offshore operators and contractors.
“Now these major companies are set to face the consequences as dozens of offshore platforms will be brought to a standstill in a matter of weeks.”
Dates for the proposed strikes are yet to be announced.
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