SHARE

Over 400 UK North Sea services workers downed their tools for the first time in nearly thirty years on Tuesday to protest pay cuts.

Unite the union and RMT said over 400 members began a 24-hour work stoppage on Tuesday to protest pay cuts proposed by Wood Group.

The work stoppage is the first one conducted by union members in 28 years.

The unions previously said that they expect the stoppage to “severely disrupt operations” at Shell platforms located in the Brent and Central oil and gas fields.

The strike is expected to include the Brent Alpha, Brent Bravo, Brent Charlie, Brent Delta, Nelson, Curlew and Shearwater.

Shell told STV on Tuesday that the strike is not expected to affect production at the platforms.

The unions said Monday that the work stoppage will be followed by other actions in the “following weeks.”

The unions said Tuesday that they will also stage protests outside the home of Wood Group founder Sir Ian Wood as well as Shell UK’s Altens Farm Road office in Aberdeen.

“This strike is solid. Our members know it was Wood Group that led them to this point, but we remain willing and ready to resolve this dispute if they bring a fair and positive proposal to the table,” Unite regional officer John Boland said.

The strike comes about three weeks after talks between the unions and Wood Group hit an impasse over proposed pay cuts.

Wood Group has proposed a 22 percent pay cut but the unions claim that cut would rise to 30 percent when changes to allowances are included.

Wood Group told the Evening Express earlier this month that it has not proposed a 30 percent pay cut.

Wood Group CEO for the eastern region business unit Dave Stewart said that Wood Group met with union representatives on Friday and that senior management visited impacted installations over the weekend to “talk with our people.”

“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,” Stewart said on Tuesday.

Shell told Reuters last week that it was putting contingency arrangements in place to make sure safety at the platforms is not affected by the work stoppage.