Stand up!!

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LETTER from Member M0104288

Stand up for yourselves for Cb****s sake

As a recently retired North Sea worker, it is with great sadness and dismay that I read in Blowout and Enough is Enough, about the deterioration of conditions to the work force and cut backs to the workforce. It takes me back very clearly to pre Piper Alpha days, God please prove me wrong but the warning signs are there. A disgruntled workforce plus cutbacks in safety and a lack of maintenance on ageing platforms is a recipe for a disaster.

Everybody is aware about the financial situation today and it is very hard for anyone especially those with young families to put their job on the line by standing up for your rights. But if progress is going to be made in any way then that is what must happen. I may be a retired worker but I am not a retired trade unionist and if I was in the North Sea today I would be full of anger and frustration. But I wouldn't be angry at the oil companies, NO, I'd be raging at you the workers who are prepared to buckle without a fight and take every beating going!

How long are you prepared to put up with companies blatantly breaking agreements? The Forties holiday entitlement, the Ninian holidays, the Salamis train tickets, and Petrofac wage review are just a few that spring to mind, although there is a long list. I expect the two things you will be saying now as you read this are ‑ 'this is not a good time for action' and probably ‑ 'what good is the union?' Am I right?

Well the first answer is; there is never a good time for action. And the second answer is; the union is only as good as the membership. Sure the unions have made mistakes in the past; in the strikes of 1989 [OILC was not a union. Edi the union leaders accepted the oil company pay offers without fighting harder on the conditions. This was probably the biggest mistake that was made because it was the only time in my experience that we had them on the run! And this is from a guy that sat with many others in BP's office with £2 in one pocket and an eviction notice in the other!

We should have fought on, but the past is the past and we must build a strong union membership and prepare to fight them again. I know it's easy for me to say, but it's the only way that you are ever going to get better conditions and some sort of security in your job. If we can build a strong union membership and voice then they cannot ignore us and they will have to include us in their negotiations for agreements. This is the holy‑grail that we seek and you are the only people who can deliver it. So fill in the form in this magazine and start to have a say in your future again instead of letting oil companies and rogue contractors deciding it for you, and remember FOR EVIL TO SUCCEED ALL THAT IS REQUIRED IS FOR GOOD MEN TO DO NOTHING.
Member M0104288

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