Workers on Shell’s giant Brent oilfield platform have voted for strike action that could take place in the next couple of weeks. Workers and Unions are angry at proposed cuts to salaries and increased working hours. If the strike takes place it will be the first industrial action in the North Sea for a generation.
The trade union Unite says the proposals are unfair and that they break an agreement made just six months ago. With 99.1% of voters taking place in the ballot voting for strike action, it is clear that their member agree the proposals are unfair.
Oil prices have tumbled since mid 2014 which has put immense pressure on the oil industry as a whole. The North Sea oil industry is one of the most costly in the world with employees receiving wages much higher than the global average.
The Oil and Gas UK’s chief executive has said that a strike would only put extra pressure on an industry that is pushed to its limits and that if the industry continues to pay excessive wages above the global average it will cost more jobs.
Many believe that prior to the oil price crash the industry had lost control of its costs, something which only came to light once the revenues began to fall. However the feeling within the industry is that it would be unfair to expect workers to do longer hours for less pay.