Gas plant workers in dispute over shared accommodation and travel allowances have been offered a “concrete solution” in the hope a strike can be averted.
But if accepted the deal could involve bringing another accommodation barge to the isles to help meet workers’ demands for rooms to themselves.
Union leaders were last night locked in talks with management over the row sparked by workers’ demands for travel allowances and an end to shared accommodation. Further discussions are due to take place in Aberdeen tomorrow.
GMB and Unite representatives say staff should receive £50 a day compensation for the inconvenience of shared rooms.
Members working on the £800 million development at Sullom Voe recently came out in support of industrial action. The workers are employed by Petrofac, Balfour Beatty Engineering Services, Bilfinger Industrial Services and Randridge.
Petrofac insist workers were hired on the understanding they would have to share accommodation. However, The Shetland Times has learned additional, non-shared accommodation could become a reality. Should the offer be accepted it will require extra barge spaces to be found.
Petrofac is also willing to offer workers an extra pound per hour to those travelling from Lerwick or who are in shared accommodation.
Talks over the possible deal are expected to continue tomorrow.
A Petrofac spokesman said it would be unfair to comment on any deal being offered while negotiations are still ongoing.
The company said: “Notwithstanding what we’ve said all along about the room-sharing [that we tell the guys three times before they start work that they will have to share a room and they all sign a disclaimer agreeing to do so] – we are taking this matter extremely seriously.
“We’ve always been willing to discuss a solution that is in everyone’s best interests whilst still ensuring effective delivery of the project
“With that in mind, Petrofac senior management met with the unions last night and tabled some concrete potential solutions. Whilst agreement was not reached last night, meetings will continue tomorrow in Aberdeen and we are hopeful of reaching a swift resolution and avoiding industrial action.”
No response has yet been received from either Unite or GMB representatives.