Scotland’s biggest union has called for urgent government action to protect jobs in the North Sea.
Unite the union was commenting after a new report from the industry body Oil & Gas UK showed a massive fall in investment from £14.8bn in 2014 to around £9bn in 2015.
“We recognise that industry and unions can’t do this alone,” said Unite’s Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty. “We need government to take a much more active role in dealing with the major issues facing the North Sea.
“In July, we said that the UK Government’s Oil and Gas Workforce Plan was woefully inadequate and fell short of arresting a decline in the industry which has led to over 120,000 jobs being axed in the past few years,” he added.
“We have repeatedly called for a summit of key industry figures and ministers from the Scottish and UK governments to hammer out an action plan to save the offshore oil and gas industry. We repeat that call today.”
Unite also said that the UK Oil & Gas report showed the importance of protecting workers from cost-cutting.
“The report says that there has been a 45 per cent drop in the cost of extracting a barrel of oil or gas,” Rafferty noted. “Our fear is that a large part of that figure has come from unsustainable cuts to jobs, pay and conditions.
“Companies have to realise that they can’t prop up their profits – or create a sustainable industry – by simply attacking the offshore and onshore workers employed in the Oil and Gas industry who are the bedrock of their success.
“We can’t just have a race to the bottom, with companies competing with each other to slash pay and conditions and turn livelihoods upside down. It’s bad for the industry, it’s bad for our members, and it’s bad for the wider UK economy that relies on their income.”