Socialist Worker

Follow the North Sea deal with a war on bosses’ cuts

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2523

Bosses plans have crashed against workers resolve

Bosses plans have crashed against workers' resolve (Pic: Richard Child/Flikr)

Workers employed by contractor Wood Group on Shell North Sea offshore rigs have voted to settle their dispute.

The Unite and RMT union members accepted a new offer from bosses after a series of strikes. They were the first offshore strikes for nearly three decades.

Unite said it “allowed us to reduce the levels of cuts being proposed to our members’ wages and terms and conditions.

“We were able to secure improvements to competency payments.

“Threats to life insurance, health care and sick pay have been removed. We have a commitment to greater work security for ad-hoc workers, and they now have greater opportunities to progress into permanent posts.”

However, a significant minority voted to reject the deal. The Unite vote to accept was 105 to 82.

Many workers believed more could have been won.

The Wood Group strikers have shown that collective action is the only way to resist—and that offshore workers can fight back.

With bosses still on the attack, this dispute provides an example and underlines why union organisation must be strengthened for the battles ahead.

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