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Total targets UK offshore workers individually after union talks break down

Total targets UK offshore workers individually after union talks break down
FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past Total's stand at the 15th International Oil, Gas, Refining & Petrochemical Exhibition in Tehran April 22, 2010. REUTERS/Raheb Homavand   -   Copyright  Raheb Homavandi(Reuters)
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LONDON (Reuters) – Total <TOTF.PA> plans to start individual consultations with workers at three of its UK North Sea offshore platforms after talks with the union over the implementation of a new rota system broke down, Total said on Friday.

Further strike dates, which will stop operations on Total’s Alwyn, Elgin and Dunbar platforms, are set for Sept. 3, Sept. 17, Oct. 1, Oct. 15 and Oct. 29.

The three fields’ oil production contributes about 45,000 to 50,000 barrels per day (bpd) to the North Sea’s Forties and Brent crude streams. The fields also contribute about 10 percent of Britain’s total natural gas output.

The new rota would see workers stay offshore for three weeks, before three weeks onshore. Total UK said that amounts to an extra seven days offshore each year compared to current schedules.

“Despite offers of a 15 percent pay increase, strikes have gone ahead…We have decided to move to individual consultation in order to implement the new rota pattern,” Total UK said in a statement.

Total said moving to a 3/3 rota would safeguard jobs and investment in the North Sea, improving safety and control of costs.

The Unite union organising the strikes said on Thursday that talks had broken down with Total. A spokesman added that union members would be consulted over the weekend.

In a separate move, Unite is also preparing to ballot a further 2,500 offshore workers over pay, which could affect 106 platforms.

(Reporting By Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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