Trade union Unite confirmed on Friday that 200 Sparrows offshore workers in the UK will take strike action in a dispute over pay, potentially shutting down dozens of platforms on the UK Continental Shelf.
Around 150 contractors had voted to take strike action across more than 20 oil and gas platforms in a dispute over pay. Around 95.5% of Unite members voted to take strike action and 96.4% voted for action short of a strike. The strike would affect major operators like Apache, Shell and Harbour Energy.
Last week, the union announced that its Sparrow offshore services members working on BP’s various installations have also backed the strike action in a separate dispute over pay and work conditions. The strike will affect BP’s platforms from 29 March until 7 June this year. The continuous ban will commence on 21 March.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The oil and gas industry is overflowing with record profits. In 2022, BP’s profits were $27.75bn, more than double those for 2021. Yet the workforce is seeing next to nothing coming into their pay packets or through improved terms and conditions. Unite will support our Sparrows members every step of the way in the fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”
The trade union has also warned that the industrial action could escalate to an all-out strike unless the Sparrow members and their operator clients provide them with acceptable offers to resolve the dispute.
Vic Fraser, unite regional officer, said: “Contractors and operators who rely on our members to deliver their record profits could resolve these issues easily and quickly, but they are instead choosing to treat the workforce with contempt. Unite will not tolerate this behaviour.”
According to the union, UK operator support provider Bilfinger refused to increase pay beyond the Energy Services Agreement. It was set when broader living costs stood at 13.4%. Bilfinger had agreed to pay awards and increase allowances in November 2022 but has not yet implemented any.