North-east dive crews could strike in a pay row, the Evening Express can reveal today.
Union and company representatives have been negotiating since November and are now in “deadlock” – potentially causing delays to major marine projects if 1,000 dive crew members strike.
Supported by crews, oil industry divers maintain and repair subsea wells, pipelines and installations and also do vital work on decommissioning and renewable energy projects, which could be delayed without them – particularly as any strike action would likely take place in the summer months when most diving is done due to calm waters.
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) said it has given formal notice of its intention to ballot for industrial action.
That notice has been provided to the Offshore Diving Industry Agreement (ODIA) – the association of six employers – Rever Offshore, Helix Well Ops, KD Marine, N-Sea, Subsea 7 and TechnipFMC.
In 2015, the dive crew workers agreed to a pay cut, along with other oil industry workers.
They have since had a pay freeze, but now want increased wages, to keep in line with others in the industry who have had a rise.
It is understood RMT started talks with ODIA last November and workers have since been given three offers.
The first two offered help with training and travel expenses, but no extra pay, and the third offered a pay increase.
RMT regional organiser Jake Molloy, pictured, who has been leading the negotiations, said: “RMT has served notice of our intention to ballot for industrial action.
“We are asking for the dive crews to be treated in the same way as other oil industry workers in terms of pay offers.”
A spokesman on behalf of the ODIA signatories said: “We are committed to maintaining close contact with union officials in an effort to resolve the situation.”