Our Power Demands: Briefings 5-7 Our Rights
Our Power: Offshore workers’ demands for a just energy transition demands 5-7 sit under the theme ‘Our Rights’.
The UK North Sea is a battleground for workers’ rights. Descriptions of working offshore in the present day paint a picture of increasingly precarious contracts, stagnating wages and a lack of power in the rank and file. Mistreatment creating more unrest and leading to collective organising and action offshore.
Workers are generally split between ‘core crew’ – directly employed by the operators (the oil and gas companies) or contracting companies – and ‘ad hoc contractors’ – employed through agencies as self-employed, off-payroll, or zero-hour contract workers – and are often pitted against each other in the workplace.
Prioritisation of profit and weak (or no) collective bargaining agreements also results in a neglect of health and safety. Almost every worker who came through a workshop had a story of themselves or someone they knew ‘sticking their head above the parapet’ to report unsafe working conditions and facing reprimand – many times in the form of being ‘not required back’ or being blacklisted from the rig they were working on.
Demands 5-7 focus on the working conditions in the North Sea, and what needs to change in the employment rights of workers and the legislation that governs the energy workforce. It is vital that changes are made for both fossil fuel and renewable industries now, as without intervention practices in oil and gas will be replicated in renewables.
To ensure new jobs created are safe and on decent terms, workers have laid out demands for the energy industry that would provide for strong collective bargaining, improved safety procedures and protections for all workers in the North Sea regardless of nationality.