Some 300 offshore workers at Stork are among those balloting (Picture:

Multiple strike votes, covering hundreds of oil and gas workers employed by some of the North Sea’s biggest contractors are ongoing. Up to 1,500 workers in the Unite, GMB and RMT unions are involved in ballots over various disputes, ranging from rotas to pay.

The Energy Services Agreement (ESA), which sets wages and conditions, is under pressure as are the unions who sign up to it.

The ESA is agreed between the GMB, Unite and RMT and 14 employers. Its purpose is to maintain “stability and certainty on a substantive cost element for the industry and investors”.

The ballots are taking place across many of the same contractors where workers took unofficial action last year. Some 100 offshore workers employed by contractor Odfjell Technology have voted to strike on BP’s Clair and Clair Ridge platforms.

Separately some 50 offshore workers with contractor Sparrows in Unite working on BP’s Andrew, Clair, Clair Ridge, ETAP, Glen Lyon FPSO and Mungo installations voted overwhelmingly for strikes.

The workers are asking for an 18 percent pay rise. Alternatively, they want an enhanced payment that provides for a longer break than the period previously worked offshore, with no reduction in earnings. They also want overtime to be paid at time and a half.

The GMB and RMT unions are also balloting their members working for Sparrows on BP installations. Some 300 GMB members at Stork are also balloting. Their dispute centres on pay and rotas, specifically against three weeks on/three weeks off shift patterns.

Unite is balloting 700 offshore workers employed by Bilfinger. Workers are demanding an increase above the base rate of pay set in the ESA for 2022, and for this to be backdated to July. If that goes ahead some 40 installations will be hit.

Around 50 union members, employed by Petrofac on Ithaca Energy’s FPF-1 facility are balloting over a rotas dispute. A number of other smaller ballots are taking place.

There is the potential for these dispute to produce a serious level of offshore resistance to the energy giants.

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