Tug crews lift strike threat as new ‘constructive’ talks take place

The threat of strike action by tug crews at Sullom Voe has been lifted following progress in negotiations between the unions and Shetland Islands Council.

Councillors agreed in private this afternoon to scrap the 12-week notice letters which were served on the 48-strong workforce in August in preparation for imposing new contracts and cutting 16 jobs. The tugmen had voted overwhelmingly for industrial action in response to the move.

But last month fresh talks involving council chief executive Alistair Buchan and the new director of infrastructure Phil Crossland defused the situation for 28 days to allow more negotiations, which have since been taking place.

Mr Crossland said: “I am delighted that we have reached an amicable resolution to this problem which will mean the port remains open for business as usual.

“We will now continue with our negotiations with the aim of reaching an agreement on a number of issues that will ensure the service continues to be delivered whilst achieving significant savings in operating costs for the council”.

The branch chairman of the union Unite, John Halcrow, said the renewed negotiations had been “very constructive” and his members would now lift their threat of action.


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