Friday 24 May 2024
 11.5°C   NNE Gentle Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Council / Tug workers to press ahead with overtime ban

Sullom Voe harbour tugs at work. Photo: John Bateson

AROUND 40 towage workers employed by Shetland Islands Council are to press ahead with an overtime ban after negotiations failed to reach an agreement.

The union Unite has confirmed that if no progress takes place in the coming weeks, then strike action on the tugs at Sella Ness – which work in the port of Sullom Voe – remains a possibility.

The union added that the overtime ban will “hugely disrupt” the multi-million pound contract to bring oil tankers on to the shore for oil processing at Sullom Voe Terminal and also on production for the Brent and Ninian fields

The overtime ban will begin on 5 July, and will continue over a seven-week period.

The union said the dispute revolves around workers being denied a ‘service award’ after their transfer to Shetland Islands Council in 2006.

Unite industrial officer John Clark said: “Unite has continually been thwarted by the intransigence of the Shetland Islands Council over the long service award. The towage workers are asking for equal treatment which for 15 years has been denied to them since their transfer.

“This situation is completely unacceptable and unjust. Unless the council accepts liability, then industrial action will commence on the 5 July initially for seven weeks.

“We also have a mandate to take strike action which will be an inevitable course if the council doesn’t see sense. The overtime ban will hugely disrupt oil processing and production having a serious impact on a multi-million pound contract.”

Shetland Islands Council chief executive Maggie Sandison said: “We are disappointed to have received notification of Unite’s intention to take industrial action.

“We remain committed to welcoming our towage staff into the council’s standard terms and conditions of employment and resolving this dispute.

“The towage staff are currently on a package of protected terms and conditions after transferring into the council and therefore we are unable to award one council benefit in isolation.

“It is our view that negotiations are ongoing and the next meeting is scheduled for this Friday 25 June.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.