28 January 2016
RMT Press Office:
Offshore union RMT condemned the UK Government’s £250m deal for Aberdeen as next to nothing for the city’s offshore and supply chain workers who have been hit by over 65,000 job losses and a savage attack on pay and terms and conditions for those who have held onto their jobs.
The fall in the price of oil has also lost the North Sea £2 billion in investment, with up to £12 billion capital investment likely to be lost by 2018 if this trend continues.
Over 1,000 seafarers on offshore supply and support vessels in the North Sea have lost their jobs and those that remain are working much longer for much less, under pressure from flag of convenience operators that have targeted the UK sector because the UK Government will not enforce cabotage laws to protect UK jobs.
The commitment to expanding Aberdeen Harbour, where a record number of offshore supply ships are currently laid up is welcome but there is no strategy to assist offshore and supply chain workers made redundant in the down turn back into work. In the decommissioning sector, for example, over 50 fields in the North Sea are expected to be in the decommissioning process by 2018, attracting over £2 billion of expenditure.
The oil price in 2016 has fallen below $30 per barrel and BP kicked off the New Year with 600 job cuts, continuing the decline in jobs and skills in the North Sea.
Additionally, UK Government’s Energy Bill will lock in the shift increases, pay and terms and condition cuts imposed on offshore workers and across the supply chain.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:
“The Government’s energy policies do nothing to ensure that offshore and supply chain workers who have lost their jobs are first in the queue for work in decommissioning or back on installations if oil price recovers. Today’s announcement will mean nothing to oil and gas workers now expected to work an average of 300 hours extra a year, for lower pay, inferior terms and conditions, on installations with an average of 20% less staff and growing backlogs of safety critical maintenance work. We repeat our demand for greater investment in offshore workers and skills in the North Sea.”
RMT regional organiser Jake Molloy said:
“The offshore sector has been losing vital skills and experience at a rate equivalent to the closure of a steel plant every week for the last year! It has taken the loss of a staggering 65,000 plus jobs to finally see Mr Cameron and his government think about intervening.
“That intervention may already be too late and without some innovative proposals to protect and sustain employment and ensure the infrastructure is fit for purpose, the Government objective of ‘maximising economic recovery’ from the UK Continental Shelf is at serious risk.”