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Petrofac accused of ‘playing Scrooge’ as offshore workers walk out

Workers have started a 24-hour walkout at offshore rigs as a union boss accused the operating company of “revelling in playing Scrooge”.

Petrofac workers on Repsol installations in the North Sea started their two-day strike on Thursday, Unite said, with a warning of more walkouts to come.

Sharon Graham, the union’s general secretary, said the 170 workers involved are taking the “latest action due to a series of unacceptable pay offers”.

She added: “Unite’s members are watching offshore oil and gas giants mount up eye-watering profits.

“Instead of paying the workforce what they deserve because they are the ones ultimately generating these profits, Petrofac Repsol are revelling in playing Scrooge.”

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Platforms affected include Arbroath, Auk, Bleo Holm, Claymore, Clyde, Fulmar Alpha, Piper Bravo, Saltire, Tartan Alpha, and Flotta oil terminal.

The union also said a further strike will hit the Montrose platform between December 29 and 31.

Unite said the dispute centres on the “removal of a 10% equal time payment, years of below inflationary pay increases, as well as issues around payments for Offshore Energies UK medicals, mileage and stand-in duties”.

Workers rejected the latest pay offer from the company by 79%, on an 89% turnout.

As part of a separate dispute, Petrofac workers at BP installations Andrew, Clair, Clair Ridge, ETAP, and Glen Lyon floating production, storage and offloading facility, will begin a 48-hour strike on December 29 to 31.

The union, the country’s largest, said the Petrofac BP dispute centres on working rotation patterns and involves 76 of its members.

John Boland, Unite industrial officer, said Petrofac workers had been left with “no choice but to take further strike action due to the indifference and intransigence shown by Petrofac management”.

He added: “Several rounds of 48-hour strike action will now take place following our members rejecting a latest pay offer which represents a real terms pay cut.

“The Petrofac workers are absolutely determined to continue with strike action because the company can easily afford to settle this dispute.

“We would encourage them once again to do so and allow these workers to get back on with the job.”

The union warned strike action at the facilities is “likely to cause considerable disruption”, and it warned “further action is being actively considered which would extend the dispute into 2023”.