The oil industry must do all it can to avoid making mistakes of the magnitude that led to the Piper Alpha disaster in 1988, according to a trade union.
The RMT’s offshore energy branch claims both morale and workers’ rights across the sector are deteriorating.
Regional organiser Jake Molloy claims the current situation is in danger of mimicking a similar pattern to that which prompted the catastrophic events on the North Sea oil production platform, where an explosion caused the deaths of 167 workers.
Mr Molloy was talking at the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) conference in Dundee and spoke about the errors made in the mid-1980s shortly before the Piper Alpha exploded.
In order to “alleviate the pressures on employers and jobs across the UK Continental Shelf”, the STUC is backing a series of motions which call for government intervention.
The need to ensure occupational health and safety standards, and to protect and strengthen collective agreements are cited as the critical aims, together with putting an end to various industry impositions.
The Conference noted “the backlog of safety critical maintenance work has grown significantly since summer 2014”.
‘Same story playing out’
Mr Molloy added: “Everything that we are seeing in the offshore sector today was played out in 1986 – everything.
“In just two short summers, in 1988, the Piper Alpha blew apart and took 167 men. We cannot and must not allow this industry to make the same mistakes again.
“Casualisation, long hours and a demoralised workforce living under constant threat of attacks to their terms and conditions and the ever-present threat of redundancy.
“It wasn’t the way to run an industry in 1986 and it took the deaths of 167 men to prove that.”
Date Published: May 2, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown