Strike action by Sullom Voe tug workers has edged nearer as talks between their trade union and the SIC over long service bonuses break down.
Unite Scotland confirmed today, 22nd June, that talks to prevent industrial action at Sullom Voe Terminal had ended with no movement on the part of Shetland Islands Council to resolve the dispute over the long service award.
Around 40 towage workers employed by SIC are set to begin an overtime ban on 5th July, which will continue over a seven-week period.
Unite industrial officer John Clark said: “Unite has continually been thwarted by the intransigence of the Shetland Islands Council over the long service award.
“The towage workers are asking for equal treatment which for 15 years has been denied to them since their transfer. This situation is completely unacceptable and unjust.
“Unless the council accepts liability, then industrial action will commence on the 5th July initially for seven weeks.”
The dispute has been ongoing for months with tensions between the SIC and Unite worsening and centres on workers being denied a ‘service award’ after their transfer to SIC in 2006.
SIC have stated that towage workers will not receive the equivalent of one month’s salary like other council workers after 25 years’ service. Instead, the workers will continue to receive a flat rate of £250.
Mr Clark added: “We also have a mandate to take strike action which will be an inevitable course if the council doesn’t see sense. The overtime ban will hugely disrupt oil processing and production having a serious impact on a multi-million pound contract.”
Specifically the overtime ban would disrupt the contract to bring oil tankers on to the shore for oil processing and also on production for the Brent and Ninian fields.
SIC has been contacted for a response.