Caterers move to ballot after employers refuse to honour agreement

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, Food Workers (IUF), Unite,

North Sea oil rigUnite members providing catering for North Sea oil rigs are to be balloted for industrial action over pay.

The dispute centres on the refusal of employers in the Caterers Offshore Trade Association (COTA)  to honour a modest pay agreement for the second year of a two- year pay deal, worth around 1.3%.

The firms, which include Aramark, Compass and Sodexo, have now been served with a statutory seven day notice for the ballot start period and the ballot itself will run for six weeks.

Industrial action and an offshore strike, the first in a generation, would impact significantly on the delivery of catering and ancillary services on rigs across the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

Unite industrial officer John Boland said, “The point blank refusal of the COTA employers to honour our pay agreement has left us with no choice but to proceed to a formal industrial action ballot.

“Even against the backdrop of oil price volatility and industry pressure, COTA employers’ profits run into billions and it is unacceptable that our agreement – negotiated in good faith – is now being ignored.

“We are giving our members a clear recommendation to vote ‘yes’ for action short of a strike and ‘yes’ for strike action in order to secure the strongest possible mandate to defend their terms and conditions against the industry’s imposition.

“Our members keep the UK offshore industry fed and watered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year but we have to take a stand now in order to prevent a damaging race to the bottom.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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