The North Sea energy sector is facing a wave of disruption this spring as unions and anti-fossil fuel protestors seek to advance their causes.

More than 1,300 offshore workers are to stage a 48-hour strike over pay on April 24, in a coordinated walk-out which will halt operations on dozens of platforms.

And today climate and anti-oil protestors, who liken themselves to suffragettes, vowed to unleash a wave of “maximum” disruption by targeting offshore industry infrastructure.

Strikes action

The coordinated walkout, starting on April 24, will halt operations on dozens of oil and gas platforms and the Unite union has previously warned of a “tsunami” of industrial unrest in the offshore sector over pay and conditions.

Unite General Secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “Oil and gas companies in the offshore sector are enjoying record windfall profits.

“There’s no question that contractors and operators can easily afford to give Unite members a decent pay rise. The scale of corporate greed in the offshore sector has to be challenged."

Workers taking action include electrical, production and mechanical technicians in addition to deck crew, scaffolders crane operators, pipefitters, platers and riggers.

The five companies hit will be Bilfinger UK Limited, Petrofac Facilities Management, Stork Technical Services, Sparrows Offshore Services, and Worley Services UK Limited.

Climate protests

Meanwhile, the 'This is Rigged' group has told the Press & Journal that it will stage a series of demonstrations in Aberdeen in the months ahead.

The group refers to “infrastructure”, suggesting head offices and industrial centres could be affected.

Organiser Eilidh McFadden, who gave up her studies at Glasgow University to focus her energy on climate activism, said “The more disruptive the action is, the more it will work. We’re not just asking politely anymore.”

She drew inspiration from the Suffragettes and more recent protest including environmental demonstrations in Serbia.

Asked how people working in oil and gas will feel about disruption to their livelihood, she said the point is to force the government to create good new jobs in renewable energy.

“We’ve tried petitions, we’ve contacted MSPs, but if you look at what works, it is creating a political crisis," she said.

“We’re not here to be liked. Suffragettes were hated at the time but they were right. A ‘just transition’ to renewables will create jobs. If the Scottish Government cared about it they would be moving quickly.”

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