Trade union ends North Sea strikes after confirming deal with Total

27 September 2018 (Last Updated September 27th, 2018 12:21)

UK trade union Unite has called off strikes at Total’s oil and gas fields in the North Sea after reaching a deal with the French company over pay and work shift concerns.

UK trade union Unite has called off strikes at Total’s oil and gas fields in the North Sea after reaching a deal with the French company over pay and work shift concerns.

Workers affiliated to the union resorted to strikes at the company’s Alwyn, Dunbar and Elgin facilities in July and August, protesting a move to change the shift rotation system to three weeks on the platform against two weeks under the previous regime.

The series of strikes affected production at the facilities, reducing gas output by as much as 13 million cu m/d and oil output by around 70,000b/d, S&P Global reported.

Under the new deal, the union members accepted work stints of three weeks offshore followed by three weeks onshore in exchange for a 15% increase in basic pay plus retention bonuses.

“The new rota will preserve the long-term sustainability of our business in the North Sea, which remains one of the most expensive locations to operate in the world.”

Unite regional industrial officer Wullie Wallace said: “Unite retains serious concerns over the 3/3 rota system, which we will monitor. On balance, our members have agreed to this new offer and all industrial action is now cancelled.”

It all started when Total pushed for an increased work stint at sea following the acquisition of Maersk Oil.

An unnamed Total spokesperson was quoted by media sources as saying: “The new rota will preserve the long-term sustainability of our business in the North Sea, which remains one of the most expensive locations to operate in the world. We aim to move to the 3/3 rota by Jan 2019.”

Earlier this month, Shell stated that it would change its rota system, wherein workers at North Sea platforms would need to work two weeks offshore, followed by three weeks onshore.