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Also in the news / Gas plant strikes, space education officer, heating benefit, vaccination drop-in

Shetland Gas Plant. Photo: Shetland News

AROUND 300 North Sea workers – including some at the Shetland Gas Plant – will take industrial action following a dispute over cuts to terms and conditions.

The action, organised by the Unite union, involves people working for Ponticelli UK Ltd and Semco Maritime Ltd.

Unite members are now set to take action from 6 December until late February 2022, including a permanent overtime ban, combined with a series of strike days.

The members involved work on TotalEnergies contract on the following assets: Alisa FSO, Culzean, Dunbar, Elgin Franklin, Gryphon FPSO, North Alwyn, and Shetland Gas Plant.

At the gas plant there are set to be 24-hour strikes on 7 December, 14 December and 21 December.


AN EDUCATION officer has been appointed by SaxaVord UK Spaceport to help develop an education, skills and employment programme.

Mason Robbins, who will be based in Unst, said he was excited to be joining the team in the full-time year-long post, which is supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Mason Robbins.

“Education and skills are just as important as physical infrastructure, and I’m really looking forward to helping develop this aspect of the spaceport,” said Dr Robbins.

“Space is a hugely exciting sector and there are numerous educational and skills development opportunities for everyone from school kids to retirees.

“Our long-term objective is to create a world-leading education, development and innovation hub that we hope will be the benchmark for this ever-changing industry.”

Dr Robbins, who has a PhD in science, technology and innovation from the University of Edinburgh, had been the UK’s innovation hub ambassador for Barcelona FC, and prior to that worked as an MBA executive assistant for Real Madrid FC in Spain.

A keen lacrosse player, he is also the chairman of Lacrosse Scotland and vice-president of the European Lacrosse Federation.


A CONSULTATION has been launched on a new heating benefit that will give around 400,000 low income households the reassurance of a guaranteed £50 payment every winter.

The Low Income Winter Heating Assistance will be introduced from winter 2022 to replace the current UK Government Cold Weather Payment scheme.

The current UK Government benefit triggers a £25 payment only when temperatures are recorded or forecast at below zero degrees Celsius for seven days in a row.

The Scottish Government said its replacement Low Income Winter Heating Assistance benefit from the Scottish Government will “provide financial stability, no matter the weather”.

Social security minister Ben Macpherson said: “”Our proposed new benefit will be the equivalent to two payments of Cold Weather Payment and should ensure that most people will be better off.

“Significantly, it will also enable us to provide assistance to more households that are at risk of fuel poverty.”


THE COVID vaccination clinic at the Gilbertson Park in Lerwick will be accepting walk-in appointments tomorrow (Saturday) between 11am and 4pm.

These will be for anyone aged 16-18 and due their second dose as well as anyone due their booster vaccination.