By Simon Basketter
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Unofficial pay strikes from the Hebrides to Hull

Wildcat strikes by oil and gas rig workers in the North Sea and a refinery in Hull
Issue 2806
An orange coloured oil platform in the North Sea

Bosses are pumping out profits from the North Sea (Picture: Wikimedia/Creative Commons)

Workers in the oil and gas industry are striking unofficially against profit-hungry bosses while their wages stagnate. They downed tools across several North Sea rigs on Tuesday night to get more pay.

Fabric maintenance workers on the TotalEnergies-operated Elgin installation and Safe Caledonia flotel downed tools on Tuesday night. TotalEnergies took profits of £7.25 billion in the first three months of this year.

They were followed on Wednesday by workers on the BP-operated ETAP and Glen Lyon installations, the Harbour Energy-operated Judy platform and others. BP too saw profits of £5billion in the first three months of this year.

Most workers are from Bilfinger UK, though workers for engineering company Wood are also taking action on the ETAP. Action is also said to be taking place on the Taqa operated Tern Alpha. Taqa took profits of £432 million in the first three months of this year.

Workers are demanding an increase to base rates of £7 an hour, following the surge in oil and gas prices and increases in inflation. One worker pointed out that oil profits are “at an all-time high”. He added, “The cost of living has gone up dramatically and the wages, on the other hand, have gone down or stalled dramatically.”

GMB Scotland organiser Dom Pritchard said, “The industrial unrest is not surprising. It’s the inevitable response to employers who have been racing to the bottom for years on pay and conditions.

Meanwhile, at the Ineos refinery in Hull night shift workers walked out on an unofficial strike on Tuesday over wage problems. The workers, who are employed by Altrad, struck for two days last week. 

One of those affected told Socialist Worker, “When will they ever learn? They are pissing us about and when they do that they’re not going to get their job finished on time. The least you expect when you go to work is to be paid the right amount.”

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