48 Hour Opt in - RMT Position and Template Letter

RMT urges offshore staff to opt in to 48 hour week as part of campaign to end attack on jobs and conditions.

Ahead of the union’s strike ballot preparations, offshore union RMT is urging members to opt back in to the Working Time Regulations' 48 hour limit on the working week.

At present, offshore workers are opted out of the WTR but they are entitled to opt back in whenever they wish, without fear of detrimental treatment from the employer, under amendments made to the WTR in 2003, specifically for the offshore sector.

RMT believes that if the opt-in is taken up by offshore workers, then job losses could be minimised on production installations and the imposition of the 3-on and 3-off shift pattern – a key part of the current dispute - will be extremely difficult for the employers to implement due to the administration requirements of recording hours.

Last week, RMT’s executive endorsed the call from members to ballot for industrial action, targeting groups of workers in what the union sees as a rolling programme of action over a range of issues including:

· Ripping up current 2:3 and 2:2 shift patterns and replacing them with a 3:3 pattern

· Attacks on sick pay, pensions, travel allowances, stand-by payments and actual pay levels themselves

· Alterations to leave entitlements which will see staff losing out

· Reductions of up to 20% in actual staffing numbers.

The ballots will be conducted when necessary with specific groups of members working for individual employers working on specific oil company's installations.

The union has also said that the timing of ballots and any subsequent industrial action will be determined to have the maximum effect on operations and that RMT will look to work closely with the other offshore unions when staging any industrial action that may be considered necessary.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“RMT is urging offshore members to opt back in to the provisions of the Working Time Directive as that move will seriously hamper efforts by the employers to impose the 3-3 shift patterns which would wreck the work life balance of staff who already spend prolonged periods away from home. Template letters for the opt-out will be circulated as part of the industrial action balloting process.

“The attack on jobs and working conditions in Britain’s offshore industry is as sharp now as it was at the bottom of the oil price slump and RMT believes that Oil & Gas UK companies are exploiting the situation to launch an unprecedented assault on the workforce and the imposition of the new shift patters is central to that.

“The preparations for sequential ballots are in hand and RMT will work with sister unions in the coming months to stave off this attempt to hammer down on the workforce across the offshore industry.”

We have produced a letter that you can download by clicking on the link below to send to your company to opt-in to the 48 hour working week.  We advise that you send this first class, recorded and ensure that you get a confirmation letter back from your employers. 

48 hour opt in letter