Energy Voice | BREAKING: Crunch talks scheduled as majority of workers vote for strike

Union officials and employers will hold crunch talks next week in a bid to avert widespread strikes in the North Sea.

The Unite trade union said today that the “vast majority” of its 2,500 members covered by the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) agreement had voted for industrial action.

The union would not say what percentage of its members had voted in favour of downing tools.

The legal thresholds were met at some of the OCA member companies, including Aker Solutions, Altrad and Sparrows.

Unite and OCA employers will return to the negotiating table on Tuesday to try to resolve the pay dispute.

Crew are holding out for a 4% increase in basic pay.

In July, Unite said its members had snubbed the offer of a 3.3% raise for the eight months to March 31, 2019.

The proposals also included a 2.5% pay increase for the 2019-20 financial year, but were turned down by 68% of those polled.

Unite Scottish Secretary Pat Rafferty said: “Thousands of Unite members in the offshore sector have sent the OCA employers a clear message through these industrial action ballots.

“We have suffered too much for too long through sweeping cuts to jobs and pay alongside the growing introduction of 3:3 shift rotas.

“Now it is time that we share in the rewards.

“We hope the result encourages the industry to revisit their paltry offer or it will face widespread industrial action disruption created through their own greed and intransigence.”

OCA chief executive Paul Atkinson said: “Our shared priority is to reach a fair and reasonable settlement.

“We arranged to get together for talks with union officials before any ballot results were known.

“I know that we all share a commitment to resolve this dispute as quickly as possible and that remains our absolute priority”.

The GMB trade union is also balloting its members. The result of that poll is expected on Monday.

More to follow.

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