Update on Coronavirus and the Offshore Energy Industry

Circular No: NP/063/20

Our ref: S1/2 S2/4

19th March 2020

Dear Colleagues

Update on Coronavirus and the Offshore Energy Industry

As you will be well aware, members working in the offshore oil and gas industry have been hit by the Coronavirus crisis at the same time as another collapse in the price of oil.

In response RMT is demanding immediate state intervention, similar to the action already taken by the Norwegian Government, to protect exploration and production work and to save offshore oil and gas workers’ jobs and skills across the North Sea supply chain. Your Union is calling on Government to make the following interventions on the UKCS:

1. The Oil and Gas Authority to take over ownership and operation of installations in the event of North Sea operators going out of business, as part of a new industrial strategy for offshore oil and gas.

2. Government funded unemployment and sick pay schemes for all offshore workers across production, drilling and Subsea sectors and other supply chain workers who lose jobs or contracts due to the Coronavirus or from the collapse in oil prices.

3. Government to apply ‘essential worker’ status to offshore energy, including oil and gas, workers to recognise their critical role in keeping the lights on during the current public health crisis and for the long term, in order to stabilise future energy, investment and revenue streams from North Sea operations.

4. Impose a standard 2 weeks-on 3 weeks-off rota across all North Sea installations, in order to sustain employment and provide opportunities for developing trainees and skills.

5. Direct regulatory intervention to prevent any further, dangerous increases in commercial pressure on offshore helicopter transport operations.

6. The Energy Division of the Health and Safety Executive to undertake a full safety audit of all North Sea oil and gas assets on the UKCS, including the clearance of all backlogs of safety maintenance work.

7. UK Government (BEIS) to draw up a Just Transition Fund, in dialogue with the offshore trade unions and the Scottish Government to ensure offshore oil and gas workers can re-train to work in the growing renewables (offshore and onshore) sector and the offshore decommissioning industry.

I would be grateful if you would share this update with offshore members in your branch or region and I will keep you informed of further developments.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary