Oil & Gas

Petrofac workers begin two-day North Sea strike action

Petrofac (LON:PFC) workers stationed across several North Sea assets began the first in a series of proposed strikes on Wednesday, as a dispute over pay and conditions continues to escalate.

Trades union Unite confirmed that members working for the energy services giant across a series of Repsol Sinopec Resources UK (RSRUK) assets would enact a continuous overtime ban and a 48-hour work stoppage beginning on Wednesday 16 November.

The union said 146 members are involved in the action, spanning a range of trades from mechanics and electricians to safety technicians, pipe fitters and deck crew.

Affected assets are understood to include Arbroath, Auk, Bleo Holm, Claymore, Clyde, Fulmar, Montrose, Piper, Saltire, Tartan and the Flotta oil terminal on Orkney.

A further 48-hour stoppage is scheduled to take place on 30 November and 1 December.

Unite said both work stoppages would cause “significant disruption” to the maintenance and safe running of the platforms and the terminal.

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However, RSRUK has previously said it foresees “no impact” on production from its assets.

The union served notice of the action to the contractor earlier this month, following workers’ rejection of a 3% pay offer, which it contrasted to the broader measure of inflation (RPI) of 12.3%.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s members at Petrofac’s Repsol [sic] assets have had enough. This organisation fails to realise that our members are resolute and determined to make sure the promise made back in 2020 to review the pay and benefits is fulfilled and will continue with action until it is.

“Unite is 100% with our Petrofac workers in seeking their demands for improvements on pay and benefits.”

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Unite said it continued to seek the reinstatement of a 10% Equal Time payment which it says was removed, an additional 3% wage increase to cover “years of below inflationary increases”, payment for offshore medicals as well as increases to mileage payments and stand-in duties payments.

A Petrofac spokeswoman referred to an earlier statement from the company, in which it said: “We continue to work closely with our teams and our client to ensure there is no increased risk to safety during periods of industrial action.

“Through regular reviews of the remuneration of our offshore workforce, we ensure fair compensation aligned with the market. Our latest review resulted in enhancements, including: a salary increase and commitment to an additional increase in January 2023, an equal time allowance and increased additional and training day payments.”

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RSRUK has been approached for comment.

Unite regional officer John Boland added: “The anger that my members have at being betrayed on a commitment made and accepted in good faith, is palpable. Petrofac should understand that their failure to be reasonable and fair with the workforce on an ongoing basis, continually leads to my members resorting to industrial action when they just want to get on with the job.

“Unite’s members are due a decent pay rise after years of below inflation increases and they accepted the word of their employer that they would uphold a commitment to do just that. However, Petrofac have shown their true colours and broken their word and my members will no longer accept jam tomorrow.”

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