Chemists and engineers to take strike action in 'escalating' dispute

Pay and working rotas are at the core of the latest dispute by offshore workers.

Offshore chemists and engineers to take strike action in ‘escalating’ dispute STV News

Unite the Union have confirmed offshore workers employed by IES Callenberg and SGS UK Limited will resume strike action in an “escalating dispute”.

Around 60 contracted members including chemists, heating and ventilation engineers are participating in the action.

Unite say they’ve been battling for months to secure fairer working rotas and improved pay.

The union confirmed its IES Callenberg membership will take three days of strike action starting on Monday until the end of Wednesday, while chemists employed by SGS UK Limited will start week-long action on the same day but conclude their action on Sunday.

It comes after members said they are working 12-hour shifts for three weeks at a time – and also must conduct any required training during their field breaks.

Onshore staff employed by both companies are not required to take training during their holidays.

A spokesperson for Unite said both companies have refused to discuss changes to the working rotas and failed to make any “meaningful” improved pay offers.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s offshore members working for SGS and IES Callenberg remain resolute and determined to secure a better working environment.

“These profitable companies should be under no illusions that Unite will fully back our members as they resume their strike action until they get the outcome they deserve.”

Unite said the strike is to draw attention to the increasing numbers of workers in the offshore sector recording concerns over physical and mental burnout, fatigue, and stress due to staff shortages.

Vic Fraser Unite industrial officer, added: “Workers at IES Callenberg and SGS have been forced to resume strike action because the companies are not listening to the concerns of our members.

“In the case of IES Callenberg, they have gone one stage further by, in effect, stopping our members even discussing the reasons for the strike action with operators unless they are given permission to speak.

“It is bitterly disappointing that IES Callenberg and SGS have so far refused to positively engage with Unite by discussing potential changes to the working rotas. To add insult to injury, they have also failed to make any further meaningful pay offers.”

An SGS spokesperson said: “SGS is aware of the planned strike action, and we continue to work towards finding a resolution that will end the dispute. Safety and wellbeing of our personnel is of utmost importance to SGS.”

IES Callenberg have been contacted for comment.

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