GMB Scotland Ballot Result Due On March 27th As Shell Announce 250 Job Cuts
Talks are deadlocked and we are still miles apart over pay, changes to rosters and holiday arrangements, and staffing levels and unilateral action by employers will make matters worse says GMB.
GMB, the union for workers in the oil and gas sector in UK offshore waters, commented on the announcement that Shell is to cut 250 jobs in its North Sea operations and introduce changes to shift patterns. See notes to editors for copy of story on Press Association.
David Hulse, GMB national officer for oil and gas in UK offshore waters, said "GMB will get the results tomorrow (27th March) of the consultative ballot in the dispute for members employed under the Offshore Contractors Agreement. See notes to editors for copies of GMB press releases.
Talks are deadlocked and we are still miles apart over pay, changes to rosters and holiday arrangements, and staffing levels. Unilateral action by employers will make matters worse."
Contact: David Hulse, GMB National Officer on 07971 266157 or John Kelly GMB Scotland Regional Officer 07912 560805 or 0141 332 8641 or GMB press office 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823
Notes to editors
Copy of story on Press Association dated 26th March 2015
Shell to axe 250 North Sea jobs
By Alan Jones, Press Association Industrial Correspondent
Shell is to cut 250 jobs in its North Sea operations and introduce changes to shift patterns, the company has announced.
The oil giant said the plans will affect staff and agency contractors and were part of a range of initiatives to manage costs and improve the competitive performance of its operations around the world.
Staff and agency contractors based in Aberdeen and on installations in the North Sea were told of the plans during a meeting today.
"The North Sea has been a challenging operating environment for some time. Reforms to the fiscal regime announced in the Budget are a step in the right direction, but the industry must redouble its efforts to tackle costs and improve profitability if the North Sea is to continue to attract investment," Paul Goodfellow, Shell's upstream vice president for the UK and Ireland, said.
"Current market conditions make it even more important that we ensure our business is competitive. Changes are vital if it is to be sustainable. They will be implemented without compromising our commitment to the safety of our people and the integrity of our assets."
The cuts are in addition to 250 job losses announced last August.
Shell employs around 2,400 staff and agency contractors in its North Sea business, but that figure will fall by the end of the year after the two job loss announcements.
The current shift pattern is for two weeks on, two weeks off, two weeks on, four weeks off.
One of the options for changing the system is for three shifts on, three shifts off.
The GMB union said it was "miles apart" from the company after talks on pay, staffing levels, changes to rosters and holiday arrangements.
National officer David Hulse said the union will get the results tomorrow of a consultative ballot among members, adding: "Unilateral action by employers will make matters worse."
Chancellor George Osborne announced major changes to the North Sea tax regime in his Budget last week, in response to difficulties facing the UK oil and gas sector.
He said Petroleum Revenue Tax would be cut from 50% to 35% to support continued production in older fields.
The existing supplementary charge for oil companies will also be cut from 30% to 20%, backdated to January.
2 GMB press releases
Press release dated 26th Feb.
GMB SCOTLAND CONSULTATIVE BALLOT ON STRIKE ACTION OVER UNILATERAL CHANGES TO TERMS AND CONDITIONS IN OFFSHORE CONTRACTORS AGREEMENT IN UK WATERS
Several meetings have taken place with OCA member companies around the issues of rota changes, rates of pay, sick pay, holiday patterns with no progress resulting in “failures to agree” being lodged says GMB Scotland
GMB Scotland Regional Committee has determined that the views of members be established via a consultative ballot on possible strike action following unilateral changes to working conditions for workers covered by the Offshore Contractors Agreement (OCA) in UK waters.
This is in response to a request by officers to seek permission from the GMB Scotland Regional Committee to move to an official ballot of members for strike action on the issue. See notes to editors for copy of GMB press release dated 16th February 2015.
John Kelly, GMB Regional Officer, said “GMB Scotland Regional Committee has been told that several meetings have taken place with OCA member companies around the issues of rota changes, rates of pay, sick pay, holiday patterns.
The first of these on Friday 20th February resulted in no progress been reached and employers going ahead with pushing through the client’s agenda for unilateral changes.
These have resulted in “failures to agree” being lodged and meetings set up between National Officers of Unite and GMB and the OCA.
GMB Scotland Regional Committee has decided that officers and shop stewards should first proceed to a consultative ballot of our members across the OCA member companies on this issue.
The Regional Committee want to seek and establish the views of the membership on how the unions should challenge these attacks on terms and conditions in the OCA agreement and whether members want to move to an official ballot on the issue.
The consultative ballot will take place over the coming weeks.”
GMB press release 16th February 2015
GMB SCOTLAND SEEK PERMISSION TO BALLOT FOR STRIKE ACTION OVER UNILATERAL CUTS TO PAY AND CONDITIONS FOR NORTH SEA OFFSHORE CONTRACTORS
There is a 'blatant opportunism' to fundamentally attack the terms and conditions of our members employed in the offshore industry says GMB
GMB Scotland officers are to seek permission from GMB Scotland Regional Committee to move to ballot members covered by the Offshore Contractors Agreement over possible strike action following unilateral changes to working conditions.
This follows lack of progress when GMB and Unite met with representatives of the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) on Friday 13th February in London to further discuss the crisis in the North Sea caused by the decline in oil prices.
The Offshore Contractors Association is the body for offshore contractors based in Scotland. The agreement covers members working in mechanical, electrical and allied services, construction, modifications and maintenance work, design and project engineering, fabrication and decommissioning.
John Kelly, GMB Scotland Regional Officer, said “There is a 'blatant opportunism' on the part of some of the oil companies and contractors in seeking to fundamentally attack the terms and conditions of our members employed in the offshore industry.
There are also major concerns over the proposed changes to shift rotas and the health and safety implications that could follow from a major change. GMB believes that any changes to rotas could have a serious impact on the safety of those working offshore and we urge the companies to rethink the proposals.
My next step is to report to GMB Scotland Regional Committee. I intend to seek permission to consult members as to what response they want to see the union taking including a ballot for industrial action if the companies do not pull back on unilateral cuts”.