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SEAFARERS and offshore workers staged a two-part protest in Aberdeen today demanding basic employment rights be enforced, including the national minimum wage.
The workers, represented by the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, demonstrated outside the Aberdeen South constituency office of Tory MP Ross Thompson and the Oil & Gas UK office.
They demanded their support for the union’s SOS 2020 campaign for enforcement of the minimum wage on commercial vessels working between British ports in the North Sea.
The campaign also calls for more jobs and training for seafarers, compliance with British employment law and full trade union recognition.
Oil & Gas UK’s September economic report found that 160,000 jobs have gone in the North Sea since the price of oil fell in 2014.
Redundancies, pay cuts and the imposition of a three-week-on, three-week-off shift pattern has also been enforced by a majority of employers in the North Sea since 2014, with no meaningful consultation with unions, RMT argued.
RMT national secretary Steve Todd said: “We demand that the local Tory MP stop waxing lyrical about tax cuts for oil and gas companies and start addressing the loss of jobs and skills in Aberdeen from the undermining of employment rights in the North Sea.
“RMT members are also taking that message to the Aberdeen office of the industry lobby group, Oil and Gas UK, which routinely defends pay and employment practices that would be illegal on land and does nothing to promote trade union rights in the North Sea.”
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