Today 400 workers on Shell platforms in the UK North Sea went on strike. On behalf of our more than 100,000 supporters, Oil Change International stands in solidarity with these workers.
The striking workers are employed by Wood Group, a contractor to Shell and one of the largest service companies in the North Sea. After two rounds of layoffs, Wood Group sought to unilaterally impose pay cuts of up to 30%, added an additional four to five weeks’ work annually, extended work shifts, and imposed restrictive new limitations on leave. The Unite and RMT trade unions both voted overwhelmingly to go on strike against these harmful changes in pay and conditions.
Oil companies have long ridden roughshod over workers, communities, and the environment. At Oil Change International, we see the fight for fair treatment of oil workers as a critical part of the wider global struggle for responsible, just, and clean energy production.
Everyone has the right to safe working conditions and fair pay. The drop in the oil price is no excuse for highly profitable fossil fuel companies to pass the costs onto workers. As Unite Regional Officer John Boland put it, “For decades, oil and gas companies across the North Sea have made hay while the sun shone and become very profitable on the back of the hard work and dedication of our members. Now that the weather has turned for the industry, they are using the downturn to attack the pay, terms, and conditions of our members.”
We continue to strive for a future in which energy industry workers enjoy decent and stable jobs in a clean energy economy, and are not tied to the profiteering whims of Big Oil. We wish the striking workers every success in holding Wood Group to account and demanding a fair deal.