Unite members vote to accept Total pay offer in offshore dispute

A long-running dispute between workers on three North Sea rigs and the energy giant Total has come to an end after protracted negotiations.

Members of the Unite union on the Elgin, Alwyn and Dunbar platforms previously held several strikes in protest against plans for a three weeks on, three weeks off (3/3) rota.

The two sides had been in talks over several weeks, supported by the conciliation service Acas, in a bid to break the deadlock.

Unite’s members have now voted to accept a revised pay offer from Total, the firm which operates the platforms.

The union said the offer would mean a basic headline pay increase of 15% plus “substantial” retention bonuses as compensation for the 3/3 rotas being retained.

Any future industrial action has now been cancelled, the union confirmed, after the deal was accepted by 61.9% in a 93% turnout in the ballot.

Wullie Wallace, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “Unite members have accepted the latest offer by Total on the basis of securing a number of significant improvements from the previous offer.

“This has been a long and protracted dispute following months of negotiations but we have secured a significant victory with a 15% base increase and a substantial bonus for the workforce.”

He added: “Unite retains serious concerns over the 3/3 rota system, which we will monitor.

“On balance, our members have agreed to this new offer and all industrial action is now cancelled.”

A Total spokesman said: “We’re pleased that our workforce has accepted the company’s offer and that this will bring industrial action offshore to an end.

“The 3/3 rota is necessary for the long-term future of our business in the UK. It is a safe rota that is commonly worked throughout the North Sea and the wider global oil and gas industry.

“The new rota will preserve the long-term sustainability of our business in the North Sea, which remains one of the most expensive locations to operate in the world. We aim to move to the 3/3 rota by January 2019.”

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