UK workers’ union Unite has started a ballot for over 300 offshore drilling and contract maintenance workers covered by the United Kingdom Drilling Contractors Association (UKDCA) on strike action.
The ballot opened on August 22 and will close on September 27. It follows Unite members rejecting a 5 percent pay offer. It is worth noting that the UKDCA covers around 600 workers including several major offshore contractors including Archer, Maersk, Transocean, and Odfjell.
“Unite’s UKDCA members are always the first to suffer when there is a downturn offshore and the last to benefit when there is an upturn – that is if they even benefit at all. UKDCA drill crews have had no meaningful pay increase for several years despite the consistently high price of oil and gas, and record operator profits. Our members have their union’s full support in fighting for better jobs, pay, and conditions offshore,” Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said.
Earlier this month Unite accused BP of ‘unfettered profiteering’ as the oil and gas giant reported its biggest quarterly profit for 14 years which hit $8.45 billion between April and June – more than three times the amount it made in the same period last year.
“Inflation stands at a forty-year high and it’s expected to rise further with energy bills having risen by 54 percent. Drilling companies have major problems in retaining and re-employing experienced drill crew, yet they want to pay our members a pittance. Unite always remains open to meaningful dialogue and we urge the UKDCA to get back round the table before the dispute escalates to strike action,” Vic Fraser, Unite’s industrial officer, added.