Workers at Shell’s gas plants are set to be balloted for strike action after being told to take a ‘significant real terms pay cut’ amid a highly profitable year for the oil and gas giant.
Trade union Unite confirmed on Monday that Kaefer’s contracted workers at Shell’s Mossmorran gas plant and St Fergus gas terminal will be balloted.
More than 100 maintenance and repair contractors will participate in the vote, which will open on October 11 and close on October 25.
The Mossmorran site in Fife and St Fergus, near Peterhead, are Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) plants operated by Shell.
Unite said the dispute centres on a rejected pay offer between 5-7% depending on job grade, along with Kaefer’s “repeated breaches” of collective agreements relating to consultation and dispute resolution.
The union has previously accused oil and gas companies, including Shell, of “unfettered profiteering”.
The firm reported record earnings of £9.4bn from April to June 2022 – up from £7.2bn in the first quarter of the year.
Contractors from Kaefer include scaffold inspectors and supervisors, riggers and rigging supervisors, forklift drivers, general assistants and mechanical supervisors.
Without these essential workers, production at the plants would be severely impacted and machinery could not be operated safely.
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.”
Alleged breaches include the introduction of fixed term contracts without consultation at the plants, and a “failure” by Kaefer management to attend scheduled consultation meetings.
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.”
Shell and Kaefer have been contacted for comment.