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Offshore workers vote to strike over shift changes

The row is over proposals to change the on-off shift rotation of two on, three off.

Strike: Shetland Gas Plant is one of the platforms affected.
Strike: Shetland Gas Plant is one of the platforms affected. STV

Offshore workers in the North Sea have voted for industrial action amid a dispute over planned changes to shift patterns.

Unite members are now set to go on strike on the Elgin-Franklin, Shetland Gas Plant, North Alwyn and Dunbar platforms.

The row centres on Aker and Petrofac proposing to change the on-off shift rotation from two weeks on, three weeks off to a three-three and three-four basis.

A reduction to the existing terms and conditions at the behest of parent company Total is also part of staff grievances.

Members have taken the step to retain the two:three rota or be compensated for moving to the new pattern.

Workers are also said to have been frozen out of the competency scheme, which means different rates could be paid for the same job.

'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.'
John Boland, Unite regional industrial officer

John Boland, Unite regional industrial officer, said: "Aker and Petrofac, at Total's bidding, are trying to force our members' rotas being changed from two:three to the hated three:three or three:four.

"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 members on the Elgin-Franklin platform voted by 88.2% for industrial action, Shetland Gas Plant by 95.1% as well as North Alwyn and Dunbar platforms by 93.9%.

A Petrofac spokeswoman 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."

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