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WORKERS at Shell’s Fife NGL plant at Mossmorran will be balloted for strike action from tomorrow (Tuesday).
Unite the Union has hit out at the operator “swimming in record, multi-billion profits” while staff take pay cuts.
The body has announced today (Monday) that more than 100 Kaefer, Shell’s main contractor, maintenance and repair employees will be balloted until October 25.
This includes staff at Mossmorran and at the St Fergus NGL plant near Peterhead.
Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Kaefer is leaving Unite’s members working at the Mossmorran and St Fergus plants with no choice but to ballot for a strike.
“They are asking workers to take a significant real terms pay cut while the operator Shell, who ultimately will fund any deal, is swimming in record, multi-billion profits.
“These workers help make Shell’s vast profits – they deserve their fair slice of the pie. These members have their union’s full support in this fight to improve their jobs, pay and conditions.”
The dispute centres on a rejected pay offer of between five and seven per cent depending on job grade as well as, according to Unite, Kaefer’s repeated breaches of a collective agreement relating to consultation and dispute resolution, including the introduction of fixed term contracts without consultation and failure by management to attend scheduled meetings.
Unite has accused oil and gas companies including Shell of ‘unfettered profiteering’ after the giant posted record earnings of £9.5bn from April to June 2022 – up from £7.6bn in the first quarter of the year, having made £15.2bn profit after tax in 2021.
Kaefer contractors include scaffold inspectors and supervisors, riggers and rigging supervisors, forklift drivers, general assistants and mechanical supervisors.
Unite say that without these workers production at the plants would be severely impacted and could not be operated safely.
Bob MacGregor, Unite industrial officer, added: “Unite’s members are essential to the condition, safety and maintenance of the Mossmorran and St Fergus plants.
“Without these workers the plants just couldn’t operate safely.
“Our members are helping to generate billions of pounds in profit for the operator Shell yet they are being offered a real terms pay cut.
“This is completely unacceptable along with a number of ongoing issues at the plants including consultation.
“We call on Kaefer and Shell to reengage with Unite before this dispute dramatically escalates.”
In August workers, including Kaefer employees, blocked the entrance to the plant in an unofficial, nationwide, walk-out over pay.
This was in response to a disagreement with the Engineering Construction Industry Association (ECIA) who staff claimed refused to recognise the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.
A Shell spokesperson said: “We are aware of Unite the Union’s intention to ballot its members employed by KAEFER at two of our onshore gas plants.
“We are disappointed by this course of action, and we continue to support constructive dialogue between Unite and KAEFER to reach a mutually agreed outcome.”