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Business / Gas plant workers balloted on strike action

Shetland Gas Plant. Photo: Shetland News

AROUND 30 workers at the Shetland Gas Plant are among TotalEnergies staff being balloted on strike action.

Roughly 70 Unite members in total based on the Elgin Franklin and North Alwyn platforms along with the gas plant are being balloted on strike action as part of what is being called a “tsunami” of industrial unrest in the offshore sector.

The latest dispute centres on the pay claim for 2023, and a reduction in the days worked offshore.

Unite is spearheading the campaign to secure a better work and life balance for offshore members.

The ballot covering Elgin Franklin and North Alwyn is currently open while the ballot covering the Shetland Gas Plant opens on 19 April. Both ballots close on 5 May.

A spokesperson for TotalEnergies said: “We are disappointed that our workforce is being balloted on strike action and we remain committed to negotiating in relation to our employees’ 2023 terms and conditions claim.

“We await Unite’s proposal on a resolution so that we can conclude this matter.”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Oil and gas companies in the offshore sector are enjoying record windfall profits.

“In 2022 TotalEnergies posted a record net profit of $20.5 billion (£16.4 billion). The scale of corporate greed in the offshore sector has to be challenged, and it will be by Unite.

“We will support all our TotalEnergies members every step of the way in the fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

TotalEnergies workers are on different shift rotations of three weeks on, and three weeks or four weeks off.

Despite meetings with TotalEnergies management, Unite said the company has refused to discuss with union a reduction in days worked or a change of rotation.

Unite members being balloted include control room operators, mechanical, operations and production technicians along with skilled engineers.

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The trade union predicts that if its members vote to take strike action then it will have a “significant” impact on oil and gas production.

John Boland, Unite industrial officer, added: “Unite’s members employed by TotalEnergies across the Elgin Franklin and North Alwyn platforms, and the Shetland Gas Plant are joining an army of offshore workers saying enough is enough.

“If the TotalEnergies workforce support strike action then it will undoubtedly have a significant impact on oil and gas production across the company’s assets.”

Unite last week announced that 1,350 offshore workers across five companies will take strike action starting on 24 April until 26 April.

The union predicts the coordinated strike action will bring platforms and the offshore installations of major oil and gas operators to a “standstill”.

The corporations to be hit by the action include BP, CNRI, EnQuest, Harbour Energy, Ithaca, Shell and TotalEnergies.

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