Around 300 employees working for Ponticelli UK and Semco Maritime on TotalEnergies’ North Sea offshore facilities in the UK have voted in favor of going on strike.
The strike follows a dispute over cuts related to the terms and conditions of workers, which encompass work allowances, pensions, sick pay, and training days – among others.
Ponticelli UK members voted to take strike action by 93.6 percent on a return of 64.8 percent while Semco Maritime members voted to take strike action by 90.3 percent on a 61.4 percent return.
The members of the two companies that are part of Unite, the largest trade union in Britain and Ireland, are now set to take strike action, including an overtime ban, from early December until late February 2022.
These workers are located and working on TotalEnergies’ Ailsa FSO, Culzean, Dunbar, Elgin Franklin, Gryphon FPSO, North Alwyn, and Shetland Gas Plant.
TotalEnergies awarded a consortium of Ponticelli, Brand, and Semco (otherwise known as the PBS consortium) a five-year deal in 2020 to provide general maintenance of all its operated oil and gas assets in the UK.
“Unite members at Ponticelli/Semco have made their intentions clear in the ballot. They are going to push back against this attack on their jobs, pay, and conditions. Those making the decisions within these companies lack experience and sound judgment. They need to rethink their proposals and come back with an improved offer. Otherwise, they are going to face determined industrial action which will be supported by the union,” Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said.
“Unite members are beyond angry and frustrated. We now see that Unite was right when we raised concerns about the inexperience of these two companies and that that inexperience would result in cost-cutting for our members’ terms and conditions as well as jobs,” Unite regional officer, John Boland added.
“These workers have worked through the Covid pandemic, losing leave days while involved in Covid testing and while in isolation, they are the people that have kept North Sea platforms producing oil and gas for TotalEnergies. But now that oil and gas prices are at a new high, vaccines have greatly reduced the impact of Covid, and Total are making millions in profits, our members are being asked to accept cuts to their terms and conditions and redundancies. The only way our members can stop these attacks on pay and conditions is to fight for them. This ballot result is a clear mandate that our members will not accept this appalling treatment,” Boland concluded.
PBS was disappointed with the ballot results and its director Andreas Christophersen stated that its proposed package was competitive on the United Kingdom Continental Shelf (UKCS) region and included all base salaries unchanged.
“While disappointed with the result of the ballot, we will continue to work closely with our employee representatives and unions to achieve the solutions which best meet the needs of all parties from the consultation.
“The decision to make changes to anyone’s terms and conditions is not taken lightly, and we are appreciative of the efforts that have gone into ensuring assets have been able to operate since the beginning of the pandemic.”
“We look forward to resuming discussions with union representatives to achieve an agreeable outcome for all parties,” Christophersen said.
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