Offshore unions launch consultative ballot for industrial action over safety inspector pay cuts
Offshore trade unions with members employed by engineering and industrial services company Bilfinger are today (Friday 28 May) calling on the company to look again at their approach to industrial relations.
GMB, Unite and RMT have for several weeks been urging the company to step-back from an imposition of cuts in rates of pay for inspectors employed on TAQA operations across the UK Continental Shelf.
Workers have now registered individual grievances against the cuts in a challenge to the company, and GMB, RMT, and Unite have launched consultative ballots of their memberships, with a recommendation to move to a full industrial action ballot, which will run until Thursday 10 June.
Dom Pritchard, GMB Regional Organiser, said: “The threat of industrial action is not a move that workers in this sector take lightly and indicates the level of dissatisfaction with Bilfinger. We have a very angry and disillusioned group of workers here and the approach by the company which has been largely belligerent and at times has bordered on bullying in some cases, has only served to fuel that anger. We will continue to look for a resolution to this situation but as it drags on the employment relations suffer.”
Shauna Wright, Unite Regional Officer, added: “No one wants to go on strike, and we hope the potential for action can be avoided. However, there must be meaningful engagement with these workers and quite frankly that just hasn’t happened. Take it or leave it cannot be considered as meaningful consultation. Given the actions of the company in the last week, we must ask, is fire and re-hire Bilfinger’s new game? It seems so.”
The potential impact on TAQA operations across installations where these workers are employed, was highlighted by RMT Regional Organiser, Jake Molloy, who warned: “These workers carry out safety critical inspections and are key to safe operations. Whether they go on strike, or else choose to leave the operations as some have indicated they will do, could impact on TAQA operations. We hope a reasonable outcome can be reached.”
Dom Pritchard, GMB Scotland, on 07578 405105
Shauna Wright, Unite, 07850 644809
Jake Molloy, RMT, 07711 359705