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North Sea oil workers down tools in 48-hour strike over pay

Nearly 400 Wood Group employees walked out on Thursday in a row over pay cuts.

Brent Charlie: RMT and Unite union members on strike.
Brent Charlie: RMT and Unite union members on strike. RMT

Hundreds of oil workers are carrying out a 48-hour strike on seven North Sea platforms.

Nearly 400 Wood Group employees downed tools at 6.30am on Thursday in a row over pay cuts.

It follows a 24-hour strike last week and a series of shorter stoppages over the weekend, the first industrial action in the North Sea for nearly 30 years.

Striking Unite and RMT union members say they face a real-terms pay cut of up to 30% and are unhappy about the recent switch to a three-week work cycle.

Talks to avert industrial action broke down earlier this week.

Unite regional officer John Boland said: "We are extremely disappointed that Wood Group has decided to continue its attack on the pay and allowances of offshore workers. 

"We repeat our call for proper consultation and negotiation.

"Industrial action is always a last resort and throughout this dispute we have constructively sought to find a resolution. 

"We need to look forward and work towards a sustainable solution."

http://stv.tv/news/north/1340718-oil-crisis-why-in-the-north-sea-in-turmoil/ | default

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "The action on the Wood Group Shell assets is solid as a rock again this morning.

"After savage redundancies and attacks on workload and working conditions this group of offshore workers have been told that they are going to be railroaded into accepting pay cuts of up to 30%. 

"They have chosen not to bend the knee, they have chosen to stand up and fight.

"The unions welcome the fantastic support that has been pouring in from around the world for this important dispute.

"We are also well aware that the company chief executive has had a pay increase of 28% to bring him up to £600,000. 

"It is obscene that while the top bosses are lining their own pockets they are kicking the workforce from pillar to post."

http://stv.tv/news/north/1362675-crunch-talks-fail-to-avert-48-hour-north-sea-strike/ | default

Wood Group's Dave Stewart said: "We are hugely disappointed that industrial action is progressing despite the significant movements made and what we believed was constructive, continued engagement with the unions over the weekend and on Monday.

"We had agreed to suspend the implementation of the terms and conditions currently proposed to enable further detailed discussions with our employees and the unions.

"We believed the unions had also agreed to this during our meeting on Monday, which was attended by union representatives, shop stewards and Wood Group management.

"We were extremely disappointed by the last minute change to what we feel was a very constructive way forward and are actively seeking clarity on why this decision was taken.

"We have urged the unions to show willingness to re-engage with us with a clear objective of reaching a resolution that safeguards employment opportunities for our employees, both now and in the future."

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