Unite member Cliff Bowen speaking in support of the motion on offshore safety told conference on Tuesday (September 11), it is right that this motion remembers the 167 offshore workers and seafarers who perished in the North Sea in the Piper Alpha disaster of 1988.
“Since that terrible July day offshore unions have worked tirelessly to make offshore work, safe work in some of the most dangerous conditions on the planet,” said Cliff
Unite and the offshore unions have launched the ‘Back Home Safe’ campaign – when more than half of offshore workers said they had no confidence in the safety of helicopter flights to and from the platforms.
“We have fought to keep the North Sea free from the Super Puma 225 helicopter, until its horrendous safety record is improved,” said Cliff.
“On the rigs we continue to challenge the increasingly common 3 on 3 off shift rota system,” he added.
More dangerous than ever
“We argue that such shift patterns with three weeks offshore creates tiredness, stress and mental health issues – making the North Sea platforms more dangerous than ever,” he said.
“Unite commends the demands raised by our RMT comrades in this motion,” he added.
Cliff went on to applaud and echo the amendment added by comrades from Nautilus which congratulates the unity and solidarity between the offshore trade unions we now have.
“That includes our Norwegian brothers and sisters in Industry Energy who we meet with twice a year to strengthen the bond between workers on the British and Norwegian sectors,” said Cliff.
They too have suffered fatalities including helicopter crashes and the Alexander Klelland disaster.
“The dangers of the North Sea respect no nationality – and you’ll find no truer internationalist than on an offshore platform,” he said.
“Our unity of purpose and collective strength is improving the safety for all workers who brave the North Sea to keep our lights on and our country moving,” he added.
Cliff finished by paying tribute to those we lost on Piper Alpha 30 years ago.
“Conference, join that unity and support this motion,” he said.