Simon Roach's blog

North Sea Oil Workers Vote to Strike as Industry Profits Decline

North Sea Oil

A section of offshore oil workers in the North Sea voted for industrial action this week following a protracted dispute over pay and working conditions, but recent union laws may mean the numbers aren’t enough to support a strike.

A large majority of GMB union members voted in favour of the strike motion in response to the last round of negotiations with the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) breaking down in April.

Declining profits in the North Sea have meant the offshore workforce has already suffered a number of redundancies and pay cuts in recent years. As jobs are increasingly threatened, union members working under the OCA have rejected a latest pay offer which would see their wages fall after inflation is accounted for.

The Conservative party has pledged to do all it can to keep the industry going as the oil fields dry up. But unionists and campaigners are concerned not enough is being done to help communities transition to greener jobs as the industry winds down and the UK progresses towards its low carbon goals.

Is There Hope for the Climate in Scotland After Election Shake-Up?

Scotland election 2017

For the UK Conservative party, Scotland will be seen as one of the few successes of an otherwise miserable 2017 general election campaign.

Despite the loss an overall parliamentary majority and Prime Minister Theresa May’s failed plan to transform her party’s huge poll lead to a domineering presence in Westminster, the Tories somersaulted their 2015 election win of a single Scottish seat, this time taking 13.

This is the biggest surge since the Tory’s Scottish collapse following the 1980s, and will leave many – in a country vastly proud of its anti-Tory stance – wondering what happened.

North Sea Workers’ Strike Shows Region Unprepared for Future Without Oil

Oil rig worker in silouette

With global oil prices in decline and the UK’s oil reserves in the North Sea dwindling, tensions over pay for those working in the industry are inevitable. Throw in the UK’s existing commitments to decarbonise the economy and you’ve got a conflicting tripartite between boss, worker and the climate - all three kicking in different directions.

Who takes the financial hit of a sector in decline is as much in question as the long-term viability of the industry itself.

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