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Group braced for North Sea strike action

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Trade unions have accused the Anglo-Dutch oil major of recruiting ‘scab labour’ after advertisements appeared on job agency websites offering maintenance work on week-by-week contracts.

by Mary MorleyThursday, 14 Jul 2016, 09:09 BST

Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSA) is bracing for a strike on seven of its North Sea platforms after almost half of the workers voted in favour of industrial action. The dispute comes with energy companies struggling to keep the region competitive in the face of falling output and weak oil prices.

Shell’s share price has surged in London this morning, having jumped 1.27 percent to 2,114.50p as of 08:40 BST, outperforming the benchmark FTSE 100 index which currently stands 0.65 percent higher at 6,713.49 points. The group’s shares have gained just under 15 percent over the past year, and are up some 38 percent in the year-to-date.

The Financial Times reported last night that workers for London-listed Wood Group (LON:WG), which provides maintenance services to Shell, had voted in favour of strike action to protest against changes to pay and conditions. Trade unions have accused the Anglo-Dutch oil major of recruiting ‘scab labour’ after advertisements appeared on job agency websites offering maintenance work on week-by-week contracts.

The newspaper quoted Shell as saying that it did not expect immediate disruption to production and was putting in place contingency measures to ensure that essential maintenance could continue if the strike went ahead.

“Our priority is to ensure that the safety of our people and assets will not be compromised during any industrial action,” Paul Goodfellow, head of the FTSE 100 group’s upstream business in the UK and Ireland, told the newspaper, adding that he was disappointed by the vote and hoped that Wood Group and its employees could resolve the dispute without a walkout.

The strike action comes after news earlier this week suggested that the UK’s Brexit vote could delay Shell’s $30-billion asset disposal programme, especially in the North Sea which has struggled to attract buyers for years.

SOURCE

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