Pilot pay dispute hits north sea oil industry

Helicopter
pilots serving off-shore oil rigs are to strike in a dispute over pay, the British
Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) has announced.

 

In a
ballot of 200 helicopter pilots employed by CHC Scotia in Aberdeen, Norwich,
Humberside and Blackpool, three quarters voted to take industrial in a bid  to bring their pay up to the same level as
that of fixed wing pilots.

 

CHC
Scotia serves oil platforms owned by some of the UK’s largest offshore
operators, including BP, Exxon and Mobil.

Under
employment legislation, Balpa must give CHC Scotia seven days notice of strike
action. All CHC Scotia pilots taking part in strike action must also
provide  emergency offshore cover.

 

Although
taking industrial action, Balpa has stated its desire to resolve the issue
through a negotiated settlement.

 

John
Moore, BALPA Principal Negotiator, said: 
“The strong ballot result shows that our members are not willing to
stand by and watch a generation of young, highly-skilled helicopter pilots
haemorrhage away into the fixed-wing sector. 

 

“However,
the future of their industry is at stake and they are prepared to take strike action
in order to safeguard it.”

The
industrial action is the latest step in a long-running BALPA campaign to stem
the flow of experienced helicopter pilots from the North Sea by improving pay
rates.

 

By Phil Boucher

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