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Business / Workers vote for strike action at Sullom Voe Terminal

Sullom Voe Terminal. Photo: BP
Sullom Voe Terminal. Photo: BP

MEMBERS of the Unite union working at Sullom Voe Terminal have voted “emphatically” in favour of strike action.

Enquest said it was disappointed by the decision and was seeking further dialogue with the union to find a “mutually acceptable resolution”.

Unite’s membership at the terminal voted for strike action by 94 per cent in relation to operator EnQuest’s terms and conditions.

More than 97 per cent of Unite’s membership participated in the ballot with 99 per cent also supporting action short of a strike.

Unite held the ballot to coincide with the end of a lengthy internal dispute process involving the union and the company which has produced no agreement.

In July last year EnQuest announced that it would cut its workforce by a quarter. There were 250 workers based at the terminal at the time of the announcement.

Unite regional industrial officer John Boland said: “Unite’s membership at Sullom Voe have taken an emphatic stand against the brutal proposals by EnQuest to alter their terms and conditions including the pension scheme.

“The company has cut its workforce by a quarter heaping further pressure on the remaining workforce. We will announce a series of strike action dates imminently and the company should be in no doubt that our members will do everything to defend themselves and to oppose these unjustified attacks.”

A spokesperson said the oil company had been notified of the result of the recent ballot.

She added: “Although disappointed with the results, we fully respect the outcome of the ballot and will be seeking further immediate dialogue to resolve this dispute without the need for industrial action.

“It remains the company’s preference that EnQuest and UNITE find a mutually acceptable resolution to this dispute, but we are focussed on readying our business continuity provisions to minimise any potential disruption to our operations at SVT.

“With safety as our first priority, EnQuest is using both external service providers and re-deploying experienced staff from other assets as well as working with our non-CIG staff at SVT to ensure we remain safe should industrial action take place.”

EnQuest took over the running of Sullom Voe Terminal from BP in December 2017 and has since been working on restructuring the operation of the terminal in order to win new business.

Operational cost have been slashed by a quarter from £200million to £150 million during 2019, and in July last year the company announced it was seeking to cut 80 jobs from the terminal’s workforce.