Commenting as Unite and RMT members working for the Wood Group on Shell’s North Sea installations prepare to start 24 hour strike action on Tuesday, Steve Doran of the Offshore Co-ordinating Group (OCG) and Nautilus International said:
“The OCG strongly supports this strike action which has been rendered inevitable by the actions of the employer. These Unite and RMT members understand the pressures on operators and contractors resulting from the low oil price but they are simply not prepared to accept another round of wage cuts of up to 30% of basic pay. The Wood Group workforce servicing Shell’s platforms have already suffered job cuts, increased hours, rota changes and cuts to training and travel allowances. The constant attack on the living standards and wellbeing of offshore workers cannot be allowed to continue.
“The OCG also notes the massive salary increases awarded to Wood Group executives at the start of this year, the 10% increase in the dividend paid in 2015 and the company’s intention to increase the dividend by double digits once again in 2016.
“The workforce accepts that pain was bound to result from the rapid fall in the oil price from summer 2014. But this pain has not been evenly shared or fairly administered. It is the lowest paid workers in the sector who are being forced to shoulder the greatest burden while the executive class refuses to remove its collective snout from the trough.”
Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary said:
“The STUC supports this action by Unite and RMT members and we know the decision to strike has not been taken lightly.
“With corporate tax revenues having collapsed to nearly zero, the social benefit of the offshore sector resides in the quality employment opportunities it has traditionally provided. The constant dilution of terms and conditions along with pay cuts, rota changes and job losses is not a sustainable response to the formidable challenges facing the industry.
“The OCG has endeavoured to engage in a substantive dialogue with key industry stakeholders in an effort to navigate a sustainable path through current challenges. The actions of employers such as Wood Group seriously undermine these efforts. Employers across the industry must start acting in a fair and rational manner. Today’s strike provides a massive wake-up call to those in the sector apparently unable to remove their heads from the sand.”
The OCG was recently established to co-ordinate trade union policy and campaigns in the oil and gas sector. The following unions are members of the OCG: Unite, RMT, GMB, BALPA and Nautilus International.
The Wood Group’s annual report 2015 reveals that Robin Watson, Group Chief Executive saw his basic salary increase from £468,000 in 2015 to £600,000 on 1 January 2016. This represents an increase of 28%. Group CFO David Kemp saw his basic salary increase from £222,000 to £390,000 over the same period; an increase of 75%. (see Directors Remuneration Report pg. 32)
The same annual report states the Wood Group’s “intention to increase the dividend for 2016 by a double digit percentage”. (pg. 1 refers)
Tommy Campbell, Unite and Chair OCG 07810157920
Jake Molloy, RMT and Vice Chair OCG 07711 359 705
Stephen Boyd STUC 0141 337 8100