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Energy / Union votes in favour of industrial action at Shetland Gas Plant

Unite regional officer John Boland outside Shetland Gas Plant on Wednesday. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland NewsUnite's regional industrial officer John Boland. Photo: Shetland News

SHETLAND Gas Plant, as well as other Total owned oil and gas installations in the North Sea, are likely to be hit by industrial action in a dispute over proposed changes to the work rota system.

The Unite union said on Friday that its members had voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action. At the gas plant, 95 per cent of those voting supported the move.

The dispute centres mainly on proposals to change the shift rotation from a two weeks on/three weeks off system to a three weeks on/three or four weeks off pattern.

The majority of the workforce operating Shetland Gas Plant, the Elgin Franklin platform, as well as the North Alywn and Dunbar oil and gas installations are employed by offshore engineering companies Aker Solution and Petrofac.

Unite regional industrial officer John Boland said union members had taken the step to retain the 2:3 rota or be compensated for moving to the new rota.

“Aker and Petrofac, at Total’s bidding, are trying to force our members’ rotas being changed from 2:3 to the hated 3:3 or 3:4.

“Shamefully, workers are also being frozen out of the existing competency scheme that rewarded members for being more skilled and was a route to progression.

“During this dispute, Aker and Petrofac have tried to split our members by offering uplifts to some but not all.

“However, Unite members have resolutely resisted these shameful attempts. The resounding votes across all three platforms demonstrates clearly that our members not only want to stay on their existing rota, but if they have to change they want fair compensation, and to retain the existing competency scheme.”

In statements issued late on Friday afternoon, Aker Solutions said it had been notified of the result of the ballot.

The company said: “Aker Solutions has been notified by Unite the Union that its members employed by Aker Solutions at the Shetland Gas Plant and on the Elgin Franklin Platform have voted in favour of industrial action, in response to a proposed change to rota pattern.

“We continue to work closely with our workforce, our customer and the unions in order to bring this to resolution as quickly as possible.”

A Petrofac spokeswoman said: “Petrofac has been notified by Unite the Union that members working on Total’s Alwyn and Dunbar assets have voted in favour of industrial action, following a ballot regarding a proposed change to rota patterns.”

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