Shell to ditch ‘hated’ North Sea rota system

Oil giant Shell has announced plans to change its “hated” rota system for North Sea offshore workers.

Staff are currently based on the company’s platforms for three weeks, which Unite has long-claimed has a detrimental impact on employees.

The oil giant revealed on Tuesday it plans to move to a two-week offshore, three-week onshore system for its North Sea operations as of April next year.

It follows a review launched by the company in April.

A North Sea oil platform
Unite wants other North Sea operators to reduce time spent offshore (Danny Lawson/PA)

A spokesman said: “The purpose of the review was to continue to drive our offshore productivity, to address some issues from offshore personnel and to manage our business following the planned downman of three installations in 2019.

“Earlier this morning, Steve Phimister, vice president for Upstream UK and Ireland, shared the findings of the review with our staff at a townhall in Aberdeen.”

Shell employees are currently offshore for three weeks and onshore for for four weeks, in their shift cycle.

Contractor staff, who work a three-week on three-week off system, will also move to the new rota.

Changes will also see the creation of new multi-skilled operation and maintenance technician roles in the organisation.

John Boland, regional officer for Unite, welcomed the decision to ditch the “hated” system.

He said: “I have not met anybody that liked the rota, what we have got to look at now is the impact of moving to a two-three rota, because it could have financial implications.”

Unite the union flag
The move has been welcomed by Unite (Anthony Devlin/PA)

He added: “We are pleased that Shell is keeping onboard with what we are asking.

“We have been raising concerns for the last couple of years about the detrimental impact of the rota system.

“We are still campaigning with the other operators who are still doing their review to get them to change.”

Shell’s Brent Alpha, Brent Bravo and Curlew platforms will continue on the current shift cycle as they are expected to downman in 2019.

Brent Charlie will move to the new system.