17 October 2017

Attention all, there has a been a change to the next scheduled OCG Webinar. This will NO LONGER take place on the 31st Oct, but will now be held on Wednesday 1st November, at 7pm. Please see amended poster attached and also anyone wishing to take part can register HERE

Spread the word, fight the fight!

OCG Webinars - Third Quarter 2017 (Update)

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17 October 2017

OCG Webinar 11th October 2017 - Recap!

Did you miss the first OCG webinar? Did you forget to register? DON'T PANIC as we have the full run down right here, to view video click here

4 October 2017

Roadshow Alert - November 2017!

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4 October 2017

Unite reiterates call to ground Super Pumas

Unite the Union today (Wednesday 4 October) has reiterated its calls for the Airbus manufactured Super Puma choppers to remain grounded.

The H225LP and AS332 L2 helicopters were banned from flying in the UK after a fatal crash off Norway which killed 13 people. During investigations into the tragedy, fatigue and surface degradation was discovered in the main gearbox. It is thought the rupture of a second stage gear “likely” caused the Norway accident but the root cause of the failure is still not fully understood.

In July, the Civil Aviation Authority announced plans to lift the ban and a directive stated that “in-house” upgrades must be conducted if Super Pumas are to return to service in the UK. The European Aviation Safety Agency had previously lifted its ban in October 2016 but authorities in the UK and Norway had kept them grounded. Unite regional officer, Tommy Campbell said: “Without all the details being fully known in the Norwegian tragedy Unite believes the decision by Airbus to reintroduce the Super Pumas is not only premature but it potentially jeopardises confidence in the offshore helicopter health and safety system. Until a full investigation is complete and the results are fully known the helicopters should not be brought back into usage by commercial operators. Our overriding priority must be the safety of all those working in the North Sea and until we have clarity Unite will not support the reintroduction of the Super Puma H225LP and AS332 L2 helicopters.”

ENDS For further information contact: Tommy Campbell 07810157920

14 September 2017

OCG Webinar 13th September 2017 - Recap!

Did you miss the first OCG webinar? Did you forget to register? DON'T PANIC as we have the full run down right here, to view video click here

31 Aug 2017

OCG Webinars - Third Quarter 2017

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29 June 2017

AIRBUS HELICOPTERS SURVEY

“Outreach to oil and gas workers”

View the OCG response here and details where to complete the survey are on below poster.

Airbus Survey Poster

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26 June 2017

Offshore Coordinating Group Roadshows Round 2!

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23 June 2017

OCG Webinar 22nd June 2017 - Recap!

Did you miss the first OCG webinar? Did you forget to register? DON'T PANIC as we have the full run down right here, to view video click here

24 May 2017

OCG Webinar - 22nd June - 7pm

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15 May 2017

Did you miss the first OCG webinar? Did you forget to register? DON'T PANIC as we have the full run down right here, to view video click here

OCG Webinar 1 Recap

OCG Webinar 1 Recap

2 May 2017

OCG Webinar - 9th May - 7pm

Poster

2 May 2017

Offshore Co-ordinating Group on potential North Sea strike action - May 3rd 2017

Commenting as Unite, RMT and GMB members working for nine different OCA companies across North Sea installations are to be balloted for industrial action, Steve Doran of the Offshore Co-ordinating Group (OCG) and Nautilus International said: “The OCG strongly supports this ballot for strike action and is hugely disappointed with the OCA’s unreasonable and provocative approach to negotiations which have rendered this as inevitable. The unions have asked the OCA employers to revisit their proposals and to offer up a workable solution through meaningful dialogue. The OCA failed to do this during recent ACAS facilitated discussions.

“The OCG also notes that the OCA employer’s hostile approach to its workers stands in stark contrast to the shamelessly generous treatment of their respective senior executives and shareholders. The oil and gas unions have always understood the pressures on operators and contractors resulting from the low oil price. However, OCA employers aren’t even pretending that the pain will be evenly shared; instead seeking to ruthlessly deny many loyal workers any form of improvement after 2 bruising years of pay cuts and detrimental changes to their work rotas.

“It is essential that the OCA employers engage in meaningful negotiations with the Trade Unions in a genuine effort to resolve this pay and conditions dispute.”

Notes 1 The OCG was established to coordinate trade union policy and campaigns in the oil and gas sector. The following unions are members of the OCG: Unite, RMT, GMB, BALPA and Nautilus International.

2 As an example; the Wood Group’s annual report 2015 reveals that Robin Watson, Group Chief Executive saw his basic salary increase from £468,000 in 2015 to £600,000 on 1 January 2016. This represents an increase of 28%. Group CFO David Kemp saw his basic salary increase from £222,000 to £390,000 over the same period; an increase of 75%. (See Directors Remuneration Report pg. 32)

3 The same annual report states the Wood Group’s “intention to increase the dividend for 2016 by a double digit percentage”. (pg. 1 refers)

Contacts Tommy Campbell, Unite and Chair OCG 07810 157920 Jake Molloy, RMT and Vice Chair OCG 07711 359705

ENDS

27 April 2017

Norway one year on: Jake Molloy on the ‘people in the back’ of the North Sea choppers

For the ‘people in the back’ helicopter travel remains the single most important issue in terms of health and safety for offshore workers today. When it comes to one particular aircraft, the Airbus 225, the people in the back have been expressing some strong views and most of them blunt, few want to fly in the 225 again! The horrifying image from last year’s tragedy of the rotors spinning through the air with no cabin attached will live long in the minds of workers and their families.

This message has been made abundantly clear by the Trade Unions in the Offshore Coordinating Group (OCG) to regulators, manufacturers and industry. The CAA, the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA), the Norwegian CAA, Oil and Gas UK, Government, all interested parties have been told we are acutely aware of the continuing concerns and lack of confidence workers across the sector have in helicopters generally, and not just the 225s.

However, when it comes to the Super Puma type the facts are stark; we have seen this aircraft type in the sea six times since 2009 with the loss of more than 30 lives. This alone makes any future proposal for a return to service extremely difficult and will cause considerable concern for workers. The investigations continue into the Norwegian tragedy and as yet we have no certainty over a root cause, which must be a pre-requisite before even a discussion could take place about this aircraft.

The OCG has made it equally clear to all parties; we will continue to defend the workforce position and will not accept any return to service without the support of the offshore workforce. In this respect we believe the oil companies and contractors across the sector must play a significant part and take cognisance of the ‘people in the back’, their employees, as to ignore their views on this issue could irreparably damage reputation, culture and industrial relations.

Jake Molloy is the RMT Regional Organiser and the vice-chair of the Offshore Coordinating Group.

On April 29 last year a Airbus Super Puma 225 helicopter crashed just off the coast of Norway. All 13 people on board died in the accident, which has been subject to a year long investigation that is ongoing. As the 12 month anniversary approaches Norwegian crash investigators are preparing to release an interim report.

26 April 2017

Super Puma ban to remain in place following latest crash report

Super Puma 225 flying restrictions will not be lifted based on the findings of a new report into last year’s fatal helicopter crash in Norway.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said in a letter that “no new information” had emerged from the latest preliminary report from the Accident Investigation Board Norway (AIBN).

The new report from the AIBN will not be published until Friday, but a CAA spokesman said the authority had already received “feedback” on its content.

Mark Swan, group director, safety and airspace regulation, said in his letter: “The AIBN plans to issue a preliminary report on their investigation on the 28 April 2017 as part of their Norwegian legal obligation to report within one year of an accident.

“The report is comprehensive (101 pages) and provides significant detail. No new information for the CAA has emerged from the report and there are no safety recommendations.”

The letter was sent earlier this week to organisations, including regulators, helicopter operators and trade unions, who met in Aberdeen in February to discuss the potential return of the aircraft.

CAA said it was still working with its Norwegian counterpart on “agreeing the next steps required to be sufficiently satisfied” to remove the restrictions.

They will meet 225-maker Airbus and the pan-European safety group the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) early next month.

Mr Swan said: “CAA UK and CAA NO continue to work closely on agreeing the next steps required to be sufficiently satisfied in order to remove our Operational Safety Directives.

“Developments on the lifting and the detection capability look promising and we are hopeful that after obtaining further information we will be closer to removing our directives. At this time however the directives remain in place.”

Tommy Campbell, chairman of the Offshore Coordinating Group, said: “Our position is clear. No decision should be made until we know the full results of the route cause analysis from the horrific accident in Norway last year.

“We are aware that there is no support for workers for the return of 225s.”

Super Pumas have been grounded since a fatal crash off Norway last April killed all 13 people on board, including Iain Stuart 41, from Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire.

In the wake of the tragedy off Turoy, EASA stopped flights for both the model involved, the H225, and its sister chopper the AS332 L2.

Although EASA lifted the flight ban in October, aviation regulators in the UK and Norway decided to maintain the grounding until a full investigation into the cause of the Norway accident was completed.

The main North Sea helicopter operators had to find alternate aircraft, with the majority of flights out of Aberdeen now being carried out in Sikorsky S92s.

Step Change in Safety’s Executive Director Les Linklater said: “No loss of life can ever be acceptable but it remains imperative that the causal factors are understood, lessons are learned and actioned from all incidents if we are to make the necessary progress for offshore flight safety.

“Although the report is yet to be published, we understand that it is comprehensive, which we welcome, and although steady progress has been made there are no safety recommendations at this point.

“We will take the time to read the report once it has been published and continue to encourage transparent communication of the findings across the industry but most importantly all the people who travel in helicopters.”

25 April 2017

Unite serves notice of official OCA strike ballot

The biggest offshore union has accused employers of ‘spin over substance’, as it took another step towards industrial action.

Unite the union today (Tue 25 Apr) served notice on the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA), informing them that it was going to ballot members for official industrial action.

Unite regional officer John Boland said: “Our members are growing angry over the behaviour of the OCA employers. Last week, we went to talks with them at ACAS, and they told us that they didn’t have the right people there to negotiate, and asked us to explain our pay claim – even though they’ve had it for months. They then had the brass neck to issue a press saying they were disappointed with the outcome.

“Today, they have put out another press release saying they ‘remain willing’ to implement a 2 per cent pay increase. That’s the pay increase that’s already been overwhelmingly rejected by our members, and that would see them suffer a real-terms pay cut.

“If we are going to settle this dispute, we need substance, not spin. Until we get genuine commitment from the OCA to improve their offer, we will continue to act on our members’ wishes, and give them the chance to have a say on possible industrial action, including strike action.”

Unite’s offshore members are in the middle of a long-running dispute over pay and conditions with the OCA. In March, 81 per cent of Unite members voted to reject the latest deal put forward by the employers.

ENDS

21 March 2017

Offshore Coordinating Group Roadshows Round 2!

Poster

20 April 2017

Nautilus call on the Government to take urgent action to protect British jobs!

Jobs on UK-flagged ships are going to non-UK residents even though thousands of officers from this country are out of work, according to a report.

Nautilus International said there had been a “significant decline” in the number of UK seafaring officers working in the shipping industry.

The union called on the Government to take urgent action to protect British jobs, including reforming the certification system for working onboard a UK flagged vessel.

General secretary Mark Dickinson said: “In 2015, there were more than 10,500 non-UK nationals with valid certificates. In that same year and the next, around 2,000 UK seafarer jobs were lost due to the downturn in the oil price alone.

“These seafarers have struggled to find work due, in part, to the amount of competition from lower-cost seafarers which is in turn driving down working conditions and pay.

“If the Government continues to be complacent on the issue, we will witness a further decline of the nation’s essential maritime skills and an even greater dependence on other countries in a world of increasing political turbulence.

“With so many experienced British seafarers now out of work, reform is needed to the system for issuing CECs and to give our home-grown and home-trained maritime professionals the best possible chance of securing future employment.”

20 April 2017

Unite to push ahead with offshore strike vote

The biggest offshore trade union is to push ahead with preparations for an official ballot on industrial action.

Offshore members of Unite the union are in the middle of a dispute over pay and conditions with their employers, represented by the Offshore Contractors Association.

Today (Wed 19 April), representatives of Unite met with the independent conciliation ACAS. Officers from ACAS also met with representatives of the OCA.

After the meeting, Unite confirmed that it will continue with preparations for official industrial action ballots.

In March, 81 per cent of Unite members voted to reject the latest deal put forward by the OCA.

Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell said: “Unite members gave a significant mandate to hold a ballot for strike action in this dispute with the OCA employers. Offshore workers are gearing up to campaign for a Yes vote. It is time for all union members to stand up now, and fight back for better terms and conditions.”

ENDS

20 March 2017

Unite offshore members vote to reject pay deal

Members of Scotland’s biggest offshore trade union have voted to reject a pay offer.

In a consultative ballot, Unite members voted by 81% per cent to reject the latest pay offer from their employers, represented by the Offshore Contractors Association.

This is the second pay offer rejected by members. In December last year Unite members voted to reject a previous OCA proposal that would have seen no increase in their pay and no improvement to their terms and conditions.

Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell said:

“We have repeatedly warned the OCA employers and other offshore employers that we cannot simply have a race to the bottom, with companies competing with each other to suppress the pay and conditions of the offshore workers.

It’s bad for our members and it’s bad for the wider UK economy that relies on their income. “

“Those companies who invest in their workers and see them as genuine partners will reap the benefits in the future.

Those who don’t will end up lagging behind and always face the possibility of industrial action from their workforce“

“We will now consult with our union members and Unite workplace representatives about the way forward given their mandate for an industrial action ballot following the rejection of the pay offer.”

Unite is seeking a significant wage increase for members, along with improved sick pay and paid travel time to an employer’s onshore base.

ENDS

15 March 2017

Fatigue WEST Webinar

The WEST group held their first Webinar of 2017 on Sunday 12th March. Jake Molloy, Bob Egan and Vicky Lamont were joined by guest speaker Neil Clark to discuss all things Fatigue. Neil, a subject matter expert on Human Factors, provided an excellent overview of Fatigue which generated lots of discussion with all the platforms dialled in.

You access the full webinar here and also download supporting slide show here

10 March 2017

Offshore Coordinating Group are Hitting the Road and Coming to YOU!

Want to be heard?

Want to be involved?

Do you want YOUR say?

We want to hear what you have to say, come along and visit us at one of our road shows, more venues to be confirmed!

Monday 3 April 17’ 6pm - 8pm

Newcastle Jurys Inn (city centre)

Tuesday 4 April 17’ 6pm - 8pm

Glasgow Premier Inn, George Sq.

Wednesday 5 April 17’ 6pm - 8pm

Dundee Queens Hotel

Thursday 6 April 17’ 1pm - 3pm

Aberdeen Jurys Inn

IDEAS FOR THE WORKFORCE, BY THE WORKFORCE

20 October 2016

Unions slam North Sea decommissioning disaster

Commenting after the North Sea Producer, a huge oil and gas production vessel was revealed to be rusting on a beach in Bangladesh, Tommy Campbell, Chair of the Offshore Coordinating Group (OCG) said:

“It is completely unacceptable for any North Sea vessel or rig to be decommissioned in this way. The process by which this vessel came to rust on a beach in Bangladesh highlights everything that is wrong with the UK’s current approach to decommissioning; an approach that runs contrary to the twin aims of maximising economic recovery and limiting environmental damage that are supposedly shared by Government at all levels.

“It is essential that Government and regulators work with unions and the industry to quickly develop and implement a new and effective strategy for North Sea decommissioning. If the cost-minimisation approach becomes embedded, good jobs will be lost to the UK economy. Workers and the environment in developing nations will be cruelly exploited.

“Having extracted massive profits from the North Sea, operators cannot be allowed to duck the responsibility to decommission in an ethical manner”.

ENDS

Notes

1 North Sea Producer found languishing on Bangladesh Beach, Energy Voice, 19 October 2016 https://www.energyvoice.com/other-news/122106/vessel-docked-riverside-stadium-now-washed-beaches-bangladesh/

2 The OCG was recently established to coordinate trade union policy and campaigns in the oil and gas sector. The following unions are members of the OCG: Unite, RMT, GMB, BALPA and Nautilus International.

Contacts

Tommy Campbell, Unite and Chair OCG 07810157920

Jake Molloy, RMT and Vice Chair OCG 07711 359 705

25 July 2016

Offshore Co-ordinating Group on North Sea strike action

Commenting as Unite and RMT members working for the Wood Group on Shell’s North Sea installations prepare to start 24 hour strike action on Tuesday, Steve Doran of the Offshore Co-ordinating Group (OCG) and Nautilus International said:

“The OCG strongly supports this strike action which has been rendered inevitable by the actions of the employer. These Unite and RMT members understand the pressures on operators and contractors resulting from the low oil price but they are simply not prepared to accept another round of wage cuts of up to 30% of basic pay. The Wood Group workforce servicing Shell’s platforms have already suffered job cuts, increased hours, rota changes and cuts to training and travel allowances. The constant attack on the living standards and wellbeing of offshore workers cannot be allowed to continue.

“The OCG also notes the massive salary increases awarded to Wood Group executives at the start of this year, the 10% increase in the dividend paid in 2015 and the company’s intention to increase the dividend by double digits once again in 2016.

“The workforce accepts that pain was bound to result from the rapid fall in the oil price from summer 2014. But this pain has not been evenly shared or fairly administered. It is the lowest paid workers in the sector who are being forced to shoulder the greatest burden while the executive class refuses to remove its collective snout from the trough.”

Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary said:

“The STUC supports this action by Unite and RMT members and we know the decision to strike has not been taken lightly.

“With corporate tax revenues having collapsed to nearly zero, the social benefit of the offshore sector resides in the quality employment opportunities it has traditionally provided. The constant dilution of terms and conditions along with pay cuts, rota changes and job losses is not a sustainable response to the formidable challenges facing the industry.

“The OCG has endeavoured to engage in a substantive dialogue with key industry stakeholders in an effort to navigate a sustainable path through current challenges. The actions of employers such as Wood Group seriously undermine these efforts. Employers across the industry must start acting in a fair and rational manner. Today’s strike provides a massive wake-up call to those in the sector apparently unable to remove their heads from the sand.”

ENDS

Notes

  1. The OCG was recently established to co-ordinate trade union policy and campaigns in the oil and gas sector. The following unions are members of the OCG: Unite, RMT, GMB, BALPA and Nautilus International.

  2. The Wood Group’s annual report 2015 reveals that Robin Watson, Group Chief Executive saw his basic salary increase from £468,000 in 2015 to £600,000 on 1 January 2016. This represents an increase of 28%. Group CFO David Kemp saw his basic salary increase from £222,000 to £390,000 over the same period; an increase of 75%. (see Directors Remuneration Report pg. 32)

  3. The same annual report states the Wood Group’s “intention to increase the dividend for 2016 by a double digit percentage”. (pg. 1 refers)

Contacts

Tommy Campbell, Unite and Chair OCG 07810157920

Jake Molloy, RMT and Vice Chair OCG 07711 359 705

Stephen Boyd STUC 0141 337 8100

14 July 2016

Offshore Coordinating Group on Wood Group dispute

Commenting after ballots of Unite and RMT members working for the Wood Group on Shell’s North Sea installations demonstrated overwhelming support for industrial action, Tommy Campbell, Chair of the Offshore Co-ordinating Group (OCG) and Unite said:

“The Offshore Co-ordinating Group strongly supports this organised fightback against swingeing wage cuts imposed by the Wood Group. The high turnout speaks volumes about the determination of these trade union members to defend their terms and conditions and halt the race to the bottom.

"Their stand is a shining example to other offshore workers who are currently considering fighting back against the unjustifiable actions of too many North Sea employers. The OCG calls upon other offshore workers not to be drawn into undermining this dispute by doing the work of striking workers.

“The OCG is also extremely concerned to hear that Shell is considering using strike breaking employment agency staff to work on platform helicopter decks.

“We would remind Shell that serious safety issues are involved in the use of temporary staff offshore. Agency staff will have to be fully trained and supervised for at least 12 helicopter landings. We will be alerting our colleagues in BALPA to this fact and their members will be asked to be vigilant in the event that agency staff are deployed in safety critical posts.

“In addition we understand that employment agencies may also be used to deploy deck crew with banksman slinger tickets so we will be asking Nautilus International to alert all supply vessel Masters to be vigilant too.

“Instead of misusing employment agencies Shell should be using their considerable influence to persuade Wood Group to back off with their wage cuts and help bring an end to this dispute.”

ENDS

Notes

The OCG was recently established to coordinate trade union policy and campaigns in the oil and gas sector. The following unions are members of the OCG: Unite, RMT, GMB, BALPA and Nautilus International.

For further information contact: Tommy Campbell, Unite and Chair OCG 07810157920

Jake Molloy, RMT and Vice Chair OCG 07711 359 705

2 June 2016

OCG on latest report into Bergen helicopter tragedy

Responding to publication of the latest report into the Bergen helicopter tragedy, Tommy Campbell, chair of the Offshore Coordinating Group (OCG) of trade unions said:

"The Accident Investigation Board Norway (AIBN) report is a further development in the investigation process, but it is just part of that process. The OCG will await the outcome of investigations aimed at providing proof around what caused the tragedy in Norway and thereafter we will react to those findings.

"The OCG accepts and fully understands the concerns of our respective members and their families, and the OCG trade unions will continue to support members during this period. There is no question of this aircraft type coming back into service anytime soon as a consequence of these latest findings. If that position changes, we will engage with our members to determine a position".

ENDS

Notes

The OCG was recently established to coordinate trade union policy and campaigns in the oil and gas sector. The following unions are members of the OCG: Unite, RMT, GMB, BALPA and Nautilus International.

Contacts

Tommy Campbell, Unite and Chair OCG 07810157920

Jake Molloy, RMT and Vice Chair OCG 07711 359 705

Mick Brade BALPA 07867521577

25 May 2016

Offshore Coordinating Group responds to news of Shell job losses

Responding to Shell's announcement of a further 475 job losses in the North Sea, Tommy Campbell, chair of the Offshore Coordinating Group (OCG) said,

"This is a devastating blow to the workers directly affected but continuing job losses also threaten the ongoing viability of the UKCS. It isn't feasible to maintain an effective strip safety regime while capacity is stripped from the basin. The ability of the industry to respond to a sustained upturn in the oil price is also jeopardised by the short term thinking Shell has again demonstrated today.

"The OCG once again calls on Government at all levels to organise an industry summit with unions, employers and regulators to discuss a more enlightened response to the current crisis in the North Sea"

ENDS

For further information contact

John Boland, Unite 07918630435

Jake Molloy, RMT and Vice Chair OCG 07711 359 705

3 May 2016

Offfshore Coordinating Group on Puma 225 helicopter tragedy

Commenting after the Accident Investigation Board press conference in Norway, Tommy Campbell chair of the Offshore Coordinating Group said:

"The Offshore Coordinating Group stands shoulder to shoulder with the Norwegian trade unions in their demand that the Puma 225 helicopter must be grounded until proof of the cause of Friday's tragic crash has been presented by the Accident Investigation Board.

"Workers in both the Norwegian and UK sectors must have genuine guarantees from regulators before flights in this aircraft can be considered. Statements from manufacturers and operators will not suffice.

"Until such guarantees are forthcoming, workers must not be forced to fly in the Puma 225. We therefore welcome the statement from Step Change in Safety to the effect that workers choosing not to fly must be treated sympathetically. The OCG and its member unions will vigorously defend any worker threatened with disciplinary action for refusing to fly".

ENDS

Notes

The OCG was recently established to coordinate trade union policy and campaigns in the oil and gas sector. The following unions are members of the OCG: Unite, RMT, GMB, BALPA and Nautilus International.

Contacts

Tommy Campbell, Unite and Chair OCG 07810157920

Jake Molloy, RMT and Vice Chair OCG 07711 359 705

Richard Toomer, BALPA 020 8476 4093

3 May 2016

Helicopter accident 29.04.16

Industri Energi demands that the helicopters remain grounded.

A helicopter of the type Airbus H225 crashed Friday. This was previously named Eurocopter 225.

These helicopters must be grounded immediately, said union president Leif Sande.

“It is with great sadness that we now experience another fatal helicopter accident. Our thoughts and sympathies go to the bereaved left behind.

“Passenger-transport offshore with this type of helicopters must cease until we know the cause of this tragic and fatal accident, says Industri Energi.

“We have experienced several accidents with this helicopter over the last years on the British Continental Shelf.

“Industri Energi will follow the proceedings connected to the accident closely. 13 people were on board when the helicopter crashed near Turøy in Hordaland County. They were on their way back to shore from Gullfaks B.

“We expect nothing less than a full enquiry and that the families left behind is taken well care of. “Our last fatal helicopter was the Norne-accident in 1997 when 12 people lost their lives.”

Med hilsen

Ketil Karlsen Head of Europa office

BALPA Statement

Jim McAuslan said: "The thoughts and prayers of all British pilots are today with those directly touched by the tragic accident off Bergen.

“But the ripples of this accident will spread way beyond Norway; a country with a good safety record. The worldwide helicopter pilot community is united in demanding that we get to the bottom of what caused this latest accident in the North Sea and what can be learned from it.

“There are global standards on the undertaking of accident investigations. They have proved the bedrock of how we learn from each tragic event and aim to make flying even more safe. BALPA subscribes to those standards and will do all that is needed to help in this most recent incident."

Jim McAuslan General Secretary BALPA British Airline Pilots Association

Note

Industri Energi (Norwegian for "Industry Energy") is a Norwegian trade union for employees in the petroleum industry, the chemical industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the aluminium and metal industry and the forest industry.

29 April 2016

Offshore Coordinating Group publishes new research into offshore safety

The Offshore Co-ordinating Group (OCG) is today publishing a new report, ‘Safety Critical Offshore Workers in the UK Oil and Gas Sector: Hours, Shifts and Schedules’, commissioned from the Scottish Centre for Employment Research (SCER), Strathclyde University.

The report draws on current research evidence to consider the implications for health, safety and wellbeing of a change from two weeks offshore, two weeks onshore (2/2) to three weeks offshore/onshore (3/3) working schedules.

The report:

• finds that “the current available evidence does not allow clear conclusions to be drawn about whether working regular three week tours poses significant health and safety risks but…there are suggestions this may indeed be the case”; and,

• identifies a number of areas of health and safety concern that could be ‘particularly problematic’ in a three week tour offshore including fatigue, increased potential of severe accidents, excess overtime, older installations and mid-shift changes in rotation (e.g. switching from day-to-night shift from night-to-day shift).

Speaking on publication of the report, Tommy Campbell, OCG Chair and Unite, said:

“This OCG commissioned this report in response to the widespread concern of the offshore workforce over the imposition of new working patterns and the possible impact on safety and safety culture as a result of the current economic downturn in the North Sea. The report provides a sober and detailed assessment of the potential impact on individual workers and offshore safety regimes of the move towards 3/3 working. Its findings suggest that workers’ concerns are more than justified and that operators must now cease implementation of 3/3 schedules in order that legitimate concerns can be properly addressed by all relevant authorities.

“Government at all levels and regulatory agencies must pressure operators to stop using these potentially dangerous new working patterns and fund additional research into their impact on health, safety and wellbeing”.

Jake Molly, OCG Vice-Chair and RMT said:

“The OCG strongly believes that offshore workers, or indeed workers in any safety critical occupation, should not be forced to work 21 straight days of 12 hours shifts. However too many operators have taken advantage of the turbulence caused by the falling oil price to implement these very work schedules. This report strongly suggests that the industry as a whole needs to urgently address the safety implications of 3/3 working before real damage is done”.

ENDS

28 April 2016

Offshore Coordinating Group expresses anger and frustration at ongoing attacks on jobs, terms and conditions

The recently established Offshore Coordinating Group (OCG) is today expressing anger and frustration at the ongoing and severe attacks on jobs, terms and conditions being driven by large operators in the oil and gas industry.

Tommy Campbell, OCG Chair said:

"The latest cuts in terms and conditions being imposed without prior consultation are a step too far. It is simply impossible to sustain a safe working environment and a motivated workforce when workers face ongoing, arbitrary attacks on their working conditions and standard of living. As the OCG said on its launch, the collaboration and innovation pivotal to the North Sea's future can only be achieved through mature engagement between all parts of the industry. Treating workers as an entirely disposable asset will hasten not prevent the industry's decline".

Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary said:

"The offshore unions, through the OCG, are working tirelessly with employers, agencies, regulators and government at all levels to ensure the oil and gas industry in Scotland and the UK can have a sustainable future. Therefore it is immensely frustrating to continually have the rug pulled from under our feet by operators and contractors apparently incapable of handling industrial relations in a mature fashion. The operators must understand that cuts can't be continually forced on the supply chain without serious consequences for safety. Contractors have to realise that in the difficult time for the industry industrial relations must be handled with integrity and sensitivity".