UK North Sea workers set to strike this week

Around 300 workers of Ponticelli UK and Semco Maritime employed on TotalEnergies’ North Sea assets in the UK are set to strike this week amid a dispute over changes to their terms and conditions of employment

UK-based union Unite said that its members had voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action. An improved offer was put forward by employers the week before last but was rejected by 85% of members on an 80% turnout.

Strike action is set to start from today, December 6th until late February 2022. The action will consist of a permanent overtime ban combined with a series of strike days.

Aberdeen-based consortium PBS, formed of Ponticelli, Brand Energy & Infrastructure Services and Semco, said earlier it was looking at possible redundancy proposals that could lead to a 10% reduction in its headcount.

Excluding Brand Energy, and not related to job cuts, Unite had previously raised concerns over the slashes proposed to pay where terms and conditions have left certain workers facing a drop in the total value of their pension of up to £40,000.

Unite regional officer, John Boland, said: “Unite members are rightly extremely angry and frustrated that the Ponticelli/Semco management didn’t listen. Concerns were raised by Unite about the inexperience of these two companies months ago and that inexperience has resulted in the position we are in today.

Boland said that “Ponticelli/Semco management urgently need to rethink their proposals and come back with an improved offer otherwise they will have a strike on their hands which will be supported all the way by their union.”

PBS director Andreas Christophersen said that the consortium was disappointed that the enhanced offer had not been accepted. The consortium has requested that the unions join PBS in talks with ACAS about starting a mediation process to bring the dispute to a conclusion.

The members involved work on the Total Energies contract on Alisa FSO, Culzean, Dunbar, Elgin Franklin, Gryphon FPSO, North Alwyn & Shetland Gas Plant.