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North Sea workers strike again as support floods in from around the world

3 August, 2016Unite and RMT members working on seven Shell platforms in the North Sea will take further strike action on 4 and 5 August.

The 48-hour strike will affect the Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Nelson, Gannet, Shearwater and Curlew platforms. It follows a strike on 26 July by almost 400 members of IndustriALL Global Union affiliates Unite and the RMT at multinational oil and gas services company Wood Group, in a dispute around pay cuts of up to 30 per cent.

The workers are subcontracted to Wood Group at seven Shell oil and gas platforms in the Brent Field in the North Sea.

The strike saw declarations of support from trade unionists across the world. IndustriALL sent messages of solidarity, and called on affiliates to do the same. Many responded, and support was received from IndustriALL affiliates, including PZZ KADRA in Poland, POEM in Greece, ATOMPROFSPILKA of Ukraine, UA ZENSEN in Japan, IG BCE in Germany, Fellesforbundet and Industri Energi in Norway, and the United Steelworkers in the USA and Canada.

Messages were also received from UNI Global Union, the ITF and their affiliates, the TUC and the STUC in the UK; the NUJ, UCATT, PCS, EIS and union branches across the UK, anti-blacklisting activists and the National Shop Steward Committee.

The strike was accompanied by demonstrations at Wood Group and Shell locations on shore, including an occupation by RMT activists of Shell’s headquarters in Canary Wharf, London. There will be further pickets at Shell offices in London and Manchester on Thursday.

Unite regional 0fficer John Boland said:

“The solid actions this week and the support that the workers received is a clear demonstration of the strength of feeling and their resolve to resist these attacks on pay and allowances. 

“The workforce is clearly of the view that enough is enough. 

“Wood Group needs to drop the cuts and get back round the table with us if it genuinely wants to avoid further industrial action.”

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“The unions welcome the fantastic support that has been pouring in from around the world. We are also well aware that the company Chief Executive has had a pay increase of 28 per cent to bring him up to £600,000. It is obscene that while the top bosses are lining their own pockets they are kicking the workforce from pillar to post.

“This brave group of workers are taking a stand against the greed and savagery that is a mark of corporate Britain in 2016.”

Jyrki Raina, IndustriALL general secretary, said:

“This is the first offshore strike in nearly 30 years, which shows how serious things have become. We will continue to support our affiliates Unite and the RMT until Wood Group returns to the negotiating table with a genuine offer. We call on our affiliates to support this action and to show their solidarity.”

Take action

Please send messages of support to North Sea workers taking strike action on Thursday and Friday 4 and 5 August. You can do this by emailing [email protected] and [email protected].

You can also show support and follow developments on the Unite Offshore Facebook page and on Twitter @UniteOffshore.

All messages of support are welcome.