North Sea union members working for service firms Aker Solutions and Petrofac have voted to strike over a change to a “hated” work rotation.
Unite the Union claims French oil giant Total is “pressuring” Aker Solutions and Petrofac members to move from a two weeks on, three weeks off (2:3) rota to a 3:3, 3:4 rotation.
Industrial action ballot papers were returned by Petrofac workers on the North Alwyn and Dunbar platforms, with an overwhelming majority voting to strike.
Aker Solutions members working on the Elgin-Franklin platform were also balloted, alongside those working at the Shetland Gas Plant.
Unite members on the Elgin-Franklin platform voted 88.2% for industrial action, Shetland Gas Plant by 95.1% and on the North Alwyn and Dunbar platforms by 93.9%.
John Boland, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “Aker and Petrofac at Total’s biding are trying to force our members’ rotas being changed from 2:3 to the hated 3:3 or 3:4 rotas.
“Shamefully, workers are also being frozen out of the existing competency scheme that rewarded members for being more skilled and was a route to progression.”
“During this dispute Aker and Petrofac have tried to split our members by offering uplifts to some but not all.
“However, Unite members have resolutely resisted these shameful attempts.
“The resounding votes across all three platforms demonstrates clearly that our members not only want to stay on their existing rota, but if they have to change they want fair compensation, and to retain the existing competency scheme.”
Unite claimed the dispute could affect up to 250 members.
Petrofac confirmed it had been “notified” by Unite that workers had voted for industrial action.
Crew on Total’s Alwyn, Dunbar and Elgin platforms voted to move to 3:3, in exchange for a 15% pay increase, in 2018. Shell and Apache have both announced plans to move workers back to a 2:3 system.
Repsol Sinopec Resources UK is conducting its own review of offshore schedules.
An Aker spokesman said: “Aker Solutions has been notified by Unite the Union that its members employed by Aker Solutions at the Shetland Gas Plant and on the Elgin Franklin Platform have voted in favour of industrial action, in response to a proposed change to rota pattern. We continue to work closely with our workforce, our customer and the unions in order to bring this to resolution.”
A spokeswoman for Petrofac said: “Petrofac has been notified by Unite the Union that members working on Total’s Alwyn and Dunbar assets have voted in favour of industrial action, following a ballot regarding a proposed change to rota patterns.”