A new agreement has been reached covering offshore workers which will ensure they can benefit from the UK government coronavirus job retention scheme.
Trade unions have worked with the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) to agree a Supplementary Project Agreement (SPA) to the Offshore Contractors Partnership Agreement (OCPA).
The SPA will ensure those at risk of redundancy or lay off, and those recently made redundant, can benefit from the UK government coronavirus job retention scheme. It will also protect those with underlying health problems that have been told to shield themselves.
It is hoped that this agreement can be applied across other sectors of offshore, and ensure that there is consistent and fair treatment of all offshore workers.
The trade union, Unite, which is the largest offshore trade union, launched its ‘Keep the North Sea Safe – Cuts Cost Lives’ – campaign in response to the OCA serving notice to dismantle a collective agreement covering the terms and conditions of around 7,000 workers, which hits a peak of 10,000 during the summer shutdown.
At present eight major oil companies are part of the OCA companies including Aker Solutions, Altrad, Brand, Muilhlhan, Petrofac, Stork, Wood Group and Worley. The OCA acts as a baseline for other companies operating in the North Sea. Unite estimates that up to 30,000 offshore workers are directly and indirectly affected by the terms of the agreement.
John Boland, Unite regional industrial officer, said:
”The new agreement will bring relief to many of our members who were facing a very uncertain future, and will secure a workforce ready for when we overcome this pandemic.
“Unite offshore members are used to overcoming difficulties, and with the support of their union they will overcome this period, and be stronger for it.
“Working together, the unions and the OCA have shown the value of an offshore collective agreement, and that is why the offshore contractors agreement must remain in place.”