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August 25, 2022

UK offshore workers ballot for strike action over pay dispute

Unite the Union rejects a 5% pay rise offer and is now balloting its members for strike action.

By Smruthi Nadig

Unite the Union has balloted over 300 offshore drilling and contract maintenance workers to gauge interest in strike action in the UK.

The ballot comes after Unite rejected a pay increase offer of 5%. The workers are represented by the United Kingdom Drilling Contractors Association (UKDCA), and include approximately 600 people who work for companies such as Archer, Maersk, Transocean, and Odfjell.

The ballot was opened on 22 August and will close on 27 September. 

Unite accused BP earlier this month of “unfettered profiteering” after the oil and gas giant reported its highest quarterly profit in 14 years, $8.45bn (£6.9bn) between April and June, more than three times the amount it made in the same period last year.

In a report released on 22 August, Citigroup, an investment banking company, predicted that inflation rates would exceed 18% by January 2023.

Vic Fraser, Unite industrial officer, said, “Inflation stands at a 40-year high, and it’s expected to rise further with energy bills having risen by 54%.”

Health workers on Shell platforms have already voted to strike in response to a 3.5% pay rise offered to members.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Unite’s UKDCA members are always the first to suffer when there is a downturn offshore and the last to benefit when there is an upturn; that’s if they even benefit at all.”

“Our members have their union’s full support in fighting for better jobs, pay and conditions offshore,” she said. 

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