A ballot on proposed strike action is to be held by construction workers at St Fergus Gas Plant over “safety concerns” and “attacks on terms and conditions”, a trade union has said.
Unite the union confirmed today that workers will hold the ballot over concerns that employer Wood has plans to withdraw a longstanding payment to workers who carry out safety work.
The union claim the withdrawal of the payment could cut worker wages by £103 per week for some.
It is understood around 70 workers will be balloted.
The St Fergus Gas Plant is a Shell-owner site near Peterhead which process oil and gas from North Sea installations.
Unite said the dispute raises other safety concerns around workers not now being forced into being safety permit holders without the historic payment.
Vic Fraser, Unite regional industrial officer, said: “Wood Group has informed us that they intend to unilaterally change contracts to ensure everyone in the workforce may be required to be a permit holder and are obliged to have it without any additional payment.
“Unite will not stand by as individuals who do not want to perform this safety critical role and those individuals who are not even capable to carry out the added responsibilities being forced to do so. The permit system is an integral part of the safety system at the gas plant.”
“Both Wood Group and the site operator Shell have been made aware of the reduced plant efficiency and the concerns over safety through stopping the original practice of Permit Holders coming in half an hour before the rest of the workforce.
“But, neither company appears to be interested in what the workforce has to say.
“As such, Unite members will be moving forward with an industrial action ballot to protect our members’ terms and conditions, and the safety of the plant and the nearby community.”
Wood has been contacted for comment.