Oil & Gas

Bilfinger UK enters into offshore collective bargaining deal following May’s wildcat strikes

A bargaining agreement – covering Bilfinger UK’s inspection teams working on Taqa’s North Sea assets – has been struck.

Trade unions Unite and GMB confirmed on Tuesday that the energy services firm has formally entered into a collective arrangement.

It means Bilfinger offshore workers will now be able to bargain on terms and conditions.

Unions have hailed the deal as a “tremendous achievement” and a “fantastic win for worker and company alike”.

David Hall, operations director inspection for Bilfinger UK Limited said “We have always aligned with the market to ensure we attract the best talent in the industries we operate in.

“These are challenging times for workers and employers in the offshore energy sector and having assessed recent changes in the market, it is now in the best interests of these employees, our customer and our business that we enter a collective bargaining agreement.

“We continually engage with unions on all employment matters and will continue to work with them to deliver solutions that are right for our people, our customers and our business.”

Wildcat strikes the spark

This agreement follows a decision by Bilfinger earlier this year to join the energy services agreement (ESA), which sets minimum pay and conditions for thousands of offshore workers.

Bilfinger signed up to the pact in the wake of widespread wildcat strikes in May, in which scores of workers on numerous installations downed tools.

Oil and gas workers at Aberdeen heliport.

It is thought that a total of 16 North Sea platforms were impacted by the action – contractors were hoping to raise pay rates by £7 per hour.

Bilfinger’s decision to join the ESA opened the door for the company, it’s employee representative committee and trade unions to discuss pay.

A win for unions

Shauna Wright, Unite industrial officer said: “The decision to have this collective agreement is a fantastic win for worker and company alike. Recognition will mean that the workers will now be able to collectively bargain on employee terms and conditions.

“I would like to pay tribute to our reps at Bilfinger who have themselves looked after Unite members with their branch even before this agreement and from today, this branch will now have a permanent seat at the table to ensure Unite can collectively bargain on employee terms and conditions.”

When the ESA was first announced last year, it included a rate adjustment mechanism, which automatically calculates changes to salaries using a formula based on average inflation and oil and gas prices.

Dom Pritchard of the GMB added: “GMB are extremely pleased to confirm that along with our colleagues in Unite the Union we have secured a Joint Recognition Agreement for our Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) technicians employed on the TAQA UK offshore facilities in the North Sea this is a tremendous achievement for our joint membership who have shown tremendous solidarity to achieve this.

“It also means that moving forward both unions will now negotiate terms and conditions including pay moving forward.”

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