About 400 workers of Wood Group at 7 Shell oil and gas platforms in the U.K. North Sea began on July 26, 2016, a 24-hour strike in a dispute over proposed cuts of up to 30% on pay and allowances.
It is the first industrial action of its kind in the offshore oil and gas industry in almost 30 years. The workers are employed Wood Group, an oil-field services company contracted by Shell.
The striking workers claim cuts to pay and benefits and a move from a two-week to three-week working cycle add up to an overall pay cut of around 30 % for some contractors, a claim refuted by Wood Group.
In February 2016 Wood Group announced plans to cut pay rates to around a 3rd of its UK-based contractors by 9 % – the third pay cut it had implemented since the beginning of the oil downturn in 2014.
According the strike Wood Group said: «Although we are extremely disappointed that industrial action will be taken, we respect the right of those employees who choose to do so. Our firm focus remains on reaching a resolution, which meets our mutual goal of sustaining these jobs for our employees in the North Sea now and in the future, against the backdrop of an extremely challenging climate created by the sustained low oil price.»
A Shell spokesman said: «This action is highly regrettable. Shell's priority is to ensure the safety of our workforce and assets and we will not compromise on safety during this period of industrial action.»
Production won’t be affected by the strike because the platforms are undergoing maintenance, Shell said.
The strike is set to last for 24 hours with further stoppages planned in the coming weeks.