‘Positive’ talks in gas plant row

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The frosty dispute between gas plant workers and their management have shown signs of thawing following “positive” talks aimed at preventing strike action.

Union officials plan to return to the site of the £800 million Petrofac development at Sullom Voe to present an offer to members.

It follows lengthy talks involving GMB and Unite leaders aimed at bringing a halt to industrial action at the plant before it gets underway.

Union members will now be asked to withdraw their planned industrial action which had been penned in for a week today if no agreement had been reached.

“The talks were extremely positive,” said Kurt Reeves, Petrofac’s vice president operations.

“We’ve had a good relationship with the unions throughout and we are very hopeful that the deal we’ve worked out will be acceptable to their membership.

“As we’ve said all along on the issue of shared accommodation, we make it very clear to anyone considering joining the project that they will be expected to share a room, and they all sign a disclaimer to that effect. Having said that, we take the welfare of our staff very seriously and we are pleased that we have been able to negotiate a solution that should ensure the project continues to be delivered effectively.”

John Taylor of the Unite union said: “We think we’ve got an offer that will be acceptable to our membership. We are coming up on Tuesday, one to explain the offer to those members who are on site and also ask them to withdraw the proposed industrial action which has been arranged for a week today.

“We will then conduct a ballot over the next two weeks to get an official acceptance.”

The dispute was sparked by workers’ calls for £50 allowances for shared accommodation, as well as travel allowances.

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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