The UK’s major oil and gas operators will face a “tsunami” of industrial unrest as more than 1,400 offshore workers demand better pay and work conditions, the Unite union announced on Monday. The action will affect operators such as BP, CNRI, EnQuest, Harbour, Ithaca, Shell and TotalEnergies.

According to the union’s statement, the prospective action will include electrical, production and mechanical technicians. It is in addition to deck crew, scaffolders crane operators, pipefitters, platers, and riggers working for Bilfinger UK, Stork construction, Petrofac Facilities Management, the Wood Group and Sparrows Offshore Services. 

John Boland, Unite industrial officer, said: “Unite has received unprecedented support in favour of industrial action in the UK Continental Shelf. It is the biggest mandate we have received in a generation in the offshore sector. This is directly linked to oil and gas companies reaping record profits while the workforce gets scraps from the table.”

Around 700 offshore workers at Bilfinger UK will strike for an increase in pay set by the Energy Services Agreement (ESA) for 2022, while 350 Stork construction personnel will strike for working rotas and rates of pay. Around 50 Petrofac workers will dispute holiday entitlement and around 80 Wood Group workers will dispute the 10% cut in their salary in 2015, equal to around £7,000 a year.

Oil and gas company BP announced in February that its 2022 annual profits more than doubled to £23bn for the year, while Shell’s doubled to around £32.7bn due to soaring global energy prices.

According to Unite, the ESA was set when broader living costs stood at 13.4%. However, Bilfinger agreed to pay the awards and increase allowances in November 2022.

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By GlobalData