Bilfinger UK joins Energy Services Agreement following wildcat strike

The ESA sets out the minimum terms and conditions for offshore workforce across the employing companies.

Bilfinger UK joins Energy Services Agreement following wildcat strike on North Sea iStock
North Sea: Walkers staged walkout on Wednesday.

Bilfinger UK has joined the Energy Services Agreement after workers walked off North Sea platforms earlier this week.

A trade union is now calling an end to the wildcat walkout, which has been described as a “wage revolution” by workers.

The ESA gives base terms for thousands of workers to promote fairness and stability and create a sustainable foundation for employees, employers, and operators in the UK offshore energy industry. 

It sets out the minimum terms and conditions for offshore workforce across the employing companies.

Crew members on installations for some of the sector’s largest operators, including BP’s ETAP and Harbour Energy’s Judy, downed tools and caused widespread disruption with the unplanned strikes on Wednesday.

Bilfinger workers from several platforms had announced plans to down tools.

The news that they will now join 15 other employing companies and three trade union as a signatory of the ESA has been welcomed across the industry.

Irene Bruce, OEUK’s Energy Services Agreement Manager, commented: “The signatories of the Energy Services Agreement welcome Bilfinger UK as a signatory to the agreement.

“We ask all workers to observe the request of their employer and trade unions to return to work and utilise the appropriate procedures where applicable to continue their discussions.”

Unite Union said in a statement: “Bilfinger UK and Unite have reached a mutual agreement and understanding on the current situation effecting a number of North Sea offshore installations where workers have come into dispute with their employer.

“Unite is pleased to confirm Bilfinger UK has now become a co-signatory of the Energy Services Agreement (ESA) which both parties acknowledge has been a source of the frustration for the workforce on the various offshore platforms.

“As such, Bilfinger UK and Unite are now requesting all workers return to normal working practices on the basis both parties will enter into talks through the ESA framework to discuss issues of mutual concern which has led to the current industrial unrest of the workforce.”

Bilfinger UK released a statement on Thursday.

A spokesperson for the company said: “At Bilfinger UK, we have always aligned with the market to ensure we attract the best talent in the industries we operate.

“In recent years we have kept a watching brief on the progress of the Energy Services Agreement, whilst engaging directly with the trade unions and clients.

“Having assessed the recent changes in the market and after discussion with our clients and employees it is clear that the issues raised require a consistent response across our industry.

“It is therefore now in the best interest of our people, customers, our business and the wider sector for Bilfinger UK to join the ESA and we will be working with unions and our established employee representative committee to make these changes as we move forward.”

More on