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Unite members vote in favour of new Energy Services Agreement

By Alan Beresford

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Unite Scotland members have voted to support the new Energy Services Agreement (ESA), a ground breaking new collective agreement for thousands of engineering and maintenance workers in the North Sea.

The union began the Keep the North Sea Safe – Cuts Cost Lives campaign inlast March when the disbanding of the OCPA (Offshore Contractors Partnership Agreement) was set to end on December the 31.

Currently, 14 major North Sea employers have confirmed that they are willing to join the agreement, and the ballot result means Unite members have endorsed being part of this agreement.

It will benefit North Sea workers by providing an equal footing with relation to pay, terms and conditions, and health and safety standards.

Unite will continue to speak with other companies, and ensure that pressure is placed on contractors to join the ESA to provide workers with equality in the North Sea.

John Boland, Unite Regional Officer, said: “After a year of negotiations a new offshore collective agreement, the Energy Services Agreement (ESA) has been accepted by the membership of the three trade unions (Unite, GMB and RMT) and will now be signed off and implemented.

"This new agreement which has the wide support of the offshore energy industry and encompasses the fair work principles, marks the start of a new way forward, ensuring fair terms and conditions for members offshore.

"This is a positive example of working between unions, contracting companies, and operators to help ensure the security of the offshore energy industry for many years to come.

"Once the agreement is signed, we will then focus our attention on encouraging other contractor companies such as Altrad, Bilfinger, and others to become part of the agreement.”

Pat Rafferty, Unite’s Scottish Secretary, added: “This agreement hopefully heralds a new era for fair work in the North Sea, and is a great achievement for Unite members, and all offshore contractors involved.

"After a year of strong negotiation by our Officers, we can say that Unite’s campaign to Keep the North Sea safe has been a success for the workers, and this has been confirmed by their vote of confidence to agree we ratify this agreement.

"We will continue to improve conditions for our members offshore, and hopefully other contractors outside the ESA will recognise this positive step for workers, and join with us to improve the North Sea for their workforce.”

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