The Unite trade union said today that strike action had halted production on Total’s Alwyn, Dunbar and Elgin rigs in the North Sea.
Regional officer John Boland said this morning that 44 workers across the three Total rigs had downed tools at 6am in a dispute over pay and working hours.
The initial day of strike action will last 24 hours.
Stoppages will also take place on August 6 and August 20 with the 12 hour stoppages starting at 12.00 hours on July 30 and August 13.
The stoppage of production across the three rigs is thought to be costing Total £4.6 million a day in lost barrels.
A spokeswoman for Total said: “Total E&P UK confirms that planned industrial action has gone ahead on its Northern North Sea and Central Graben Area assets, despite the new proposals that were made by the Company. However, we’re pleased to be able to continue discussions with staff at the Shetland Gas Plant and remain committed to further consultation and open dialogue with offshore staff.
“Once more, we would like to reaffirm that what is at stake here is to ensure the long term sustainability of our business in the North Sea, to enhance overall safety and remain the most efficient in our operations.”
The row centres on a wage review outlined by Total and concerns that it may force workers to increase offshore working time from two weeks on, three weeks off to three on, three off.
Mr Boland said on Friday: “Our members have made it clear that this is not about money, it is about having more time at home with their families and loved ones.
“Total need to take this on board, and shelve these plans for three week working, particularly at a time when other operators are looking to move away from three week working.”