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ROV RMT Union...........Now or Never!!

Boys have been taliking to the RMT who say a large number of ROV Techs are joining throughout the industry. 51% of a companies ROV employees have to be members and then the company has to recognise the RMT, by law.

Its about time the ROV industry was represented fairly and with the oil companies making money hand over fist........its time they passed on money to the service companies and their employees.

Join at the RMT website or give them a ring........we think it will be worth it!
Given the cost of joining a uni0n and balancing that with the potential gain it may well be a worthwhile suggestion.

With ROV and Diving crews often working on the same jobs this would create a stronger footing for the uni0n to negotiate from.

Our website security system will not allow the use of the word uni0n unless you replace one of the letters in that word with something that looks similar... so replacing the letter 'o' with the number '0' will work (as above).

If you write a response and your post does not apppear that it will be because you forgot to do that. No worries... just use your browser back button until you are back in the post edit window and make the required adjustments and post again.

Last edited by jamesmc on 18:18 Fri 07 Nov 08; edited 2 times in total
James Mc
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I neither drive a train, swim underwater or navigate a ship, why would I want to join the RMT, just because divers got a big payrise? They are well overdue, they were falling behind even ROVvers.

RMT do not even have an office in Aberdeen - if they were that good on offshore workers they would at least have an office there.

I am an ROV Pilot, an Engineer. An Engineering uni0n such as Amicus is more appropriate to ROVvers. They have a large membership already working offshore, they have full time officials in Aberdeen. 22 years in ROVs, Ive never worked with a diver (working as a diver that is!), I wouldnt say that the majority of ROV work is done in conjunction with divers, I think its a smaller and smaller percentage each year.

51% of a companies ROV employees have to be members and then the company has to recognise the RMT, by law.

You are slightly incorrect. The majority of the Companys EMPLOYEES all have to be in the same uni0n for it to be officially recognised. That includes all other staff in the Company - not just the ones in the ROV department of it.

I still think if you want to be in a uni0n, join one appropriate for your profession - Technical/Engineering.
why would I want to join the RMT, just because divers got a big payrise?

I see no problem in the suggestion even if it were based on the recent pay rise the divers succeeded in securing.

However, hereby lies a problem... we have had but a couple of posts on the subject and already we have a split opinion on not whether we should join a uni0n in the first instance but on what uni0n to join.

We work on ships or rigs, spend a lot of time at sea and operate equipment that works (most of the time) under the sea. I would think that a Maritime Uni0n would be more suited to ROV crew needs than an engineering uni0n.

Many divers are not employed by companies, that doesn't stop them from
a) becoming a uni0n member
b) benefiting from being a member.
I feel that the same would apply to ROV personnel in the same uni0n.

The RMT have been successful in their recent endeavours (supported in no small way by the resilience of the divers & LST's involved) during the recent strike.
IMHO the strike came about because of the inability of the companies to realise how serious the divers were, to the point where it probably cost them dearly as a result.

Add the ROV crews to the same uni0n that the divers are members of and the companies will have a more cohesive force to deal with.

If the ROV guys join a different uni0n that advantage will be lost forever.

An engineering uni0n may well seem to be more suited to the type of profession we work in but a Marine uni0n, such as the RMT, may well be able to produce better results (aka improvement in rates and conditions) for us purely because of the fact that the bulk of their membership already makes up a large proportion of the people that we currently work with. Another point is that the RMT is already up to speed on dealing with the AODC. I’m not too sure how well Amicus would fare.

I guess this is what debate is all about.

In the meantime I will add a poll to the site on what type of uni0n might better serve ROV member needs.

best regards
James Mc
James Mc
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I've been an RMT member for 10 years. All of us offshore should join. Even if you're not a devout uni0n man, then join for personal protection. If you're involved in an accident/incident, then the uni0n will represent you. And they will be able to afford better lawyers.

You will hopefully never need to use this service. But best to have the cover than not I reckon.
Trying to get to......somewhere.
As part of the package they used to offer priority medical treatment/operations at the St. Thomas hospital in London.. is that still the case?
James Mc
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One of the ROV boys over at Subsea 7 has started a forum with various emails (seem to be SS7 specific at the minute) & topics from their employer and from the RMT uni0n.

Looks like the forum is in its early days but i'm sure it could be of benefit to us all at some stage once things heat up.

It's great to see that ROV personnel are starting to get organised and that there is a healthy debate about the benefits of joining a uni0n and indeed which uni0n to join.

One of our members (an ROV who has 20 years membership in the RMT uni0n) suggested that I give some information on this web site as well as the forum '' as interest is at an all time high.

As you know, RMT members (Diving & Support) secured an impressive pay rise plus benefits to their conditions which has inspired many an offshore/subsea worker. Not everyone would have their type of claim but everyone stands to gain by getting properly organised.

RMT's ambition is not merely to organise for the short term to win a pay rise but to organise for the long term. To help ensure all subsea workers build their collective strength and use it to further their needs and aspirations.

That's why the recent agreement provides for two RMT reps on every ship who will protect and represent ALL GRADES. So, already, within the seven signatories ROVers can directly benefit from RMT membership & organisation. Some, I have no doubt, will be elected RMT uni0n reps on their ship.

UNITY IS STRENGTH is a good old slogan but it also works in practice. RMT is an 'industrial uni0n'. A uni0n that treats all our members with the same sense of importance. We are different to most uni0ns in so much as we absolutely insist on rank and file control of the uni0n. Our democracy is of paramount importance and it's not our officials who call the shots but our members. In fact, we are the only UK based uni0n where our officilas are up for re-election every five years.

This is just an initial message to help clear up a few matters. For example, it has previously been suggested in the forum that the RMT has no base in Aberdeen. This is wrong. We have had an office near the harbour for over one hundred years and the current address is 3 Commerce Street, Aberdeen (if it's windy - you could spit from our office and reach the harbour!!).

Unlike AMICUS (a merger between Engineering, Finance and Manufacuring unions) we are NOT a general union. We prefer to have a growing membership where we can focus on the industrial strategies required to improve pay and conditions.

You also may be interested to note that both AMICUS and the T&GWU are scheduled to merge on 1st May to create a massive general uni0n. The third large general uni0n, GMB, has decided to slow things down but may join the merger at a later date.

Unlike most uni0ns who are suffering from decline RMT's membership has grown from 58,000 to 75,000 in five years.

One reason for that may well be that we are clearly not a 'partnership uni0n' where it's believed that the best result for the members comes about from being nice to the employer. If the uni0n is nice to the employer then they'll be nice to you! Oh yeh?

Fact is, we believe in building our uni0n through our members and their elected 'shop stewards'. If the members decide 'enough is enough' then the uni0n is there to help, support and provide leadership. We prefer to avoid confrontation and reach agreed settlements. Most of our achievements are done this way. But, we cannot guarantee an employer will be reasonable and listen to well constructed arguments.

Regards winning recognition with employers. The UK leglislation states that membership should be 50% plus one to prove sufficient support (there are also other ways). The uni0n has the right to state what the appropriate Bargaining Unit should be - as it's our claim. So it may be appropriate to focus on one distinct group (such as ROV personnel) in the first instance. These type of decisions would have to be made after much deliberation and could differ from company to company.

Hope this helps. You can find out more about RMT on our website and you can email us direct as follows:

We are building an email list of all subsea members and we hope to arrange many 'on-board' visits where possible. Aberdeen is our main focal point but we can make advance arrangements to suit out members.

...all the best,

Alan Pottage
RMT National Organising Co-ordinator
Maritime House
But as you said, Amicus and the T&GWU are due to merge, making it a MUCH larger uni0n than RMT.

Therefore there is a better chance of getting a majority of 50% plus one with that uni0n than you are with RMT.

Traditionally, divers and ROV have not got on - and I can't see it changing. ROVvers are taking the work away from Divers. As technology advances, soon we will not need them.

Also, ROVvers do NOT join together. Many will stab their fellows in the back to get them that extra £5 a day and there are more fence sitters than round Greenham Common!

There are discussions as to whether to join a Uni0n - but also as to WHICH uni0n to join. RMT being one. There are also Amicus and OILC, which one has the most members working in the oil and gas industry? OILC is specifically for offshore workers and Amicus has a very active section dealing with offshore workers.

On most vessels, ROV personnel are never considered to be maritime crew, realisticall, OILC is THE most relevant uni0n for offshore workers to join. But individuals need to look at 1) why they want to join a uni0n, and 2) which one can represent them best.

OK, RMT have made the news because of the divers and we should manage to get pay increases because of it. But that still does not make them the right uni0n to join. Should we not be joining the one that has the most members offshore already?

>>One reason for that may well be that we are clearly not a 'partnership uni0n' where it's believed that the best result for the members comes about from being nice to the employer. If the uni0n is nice to the employer then they'll be nice to you! Oh yeh?<<

A partnership uni0n does not mean they are all nicey nicey with the employer. You have already said that "we prefer to avoid confrontation", is that done by being nice to the employer? The partnership is from the different uni0ns, not a partnership with the Employer.

This is one of these discussions that appears on this board every year or so, and Im sure it will be talked about again and again.

I am an Amicus member, I have asked them for help on 2 occasions and have been happy with the results to date. Each to their own but you will never get ROV people to all join the same uni0n, if you can even get them to join one in the first place!

Oh, and in the interests of fairness:-

Amicus can be joined at
OILC can be joined at
The Last 2 vessels I have been on have had over half there ROV team signed up with the RMT, have yet to meet anyone involved with other unions other than the RMT. The momentum is building and they are now actively recruiting and looking to support us so get signed up.

I would agree this is building on what the divers have got but why not see what they can do for us.

It has nothing to do with not getting on with divers it is to do with what they have done for the divers.

I say join up, give them a try and see what they can do for us this year.
The RMT gets my vote, as it did in the
Poll on which uni0n to join

I feel that we have more of an affinity to the Divers than other Non-ROV Engineering staff that may be found offshore.
All our operations are focused purely on the subsea environment

Many years ago I would have said that divers would not have stuck together either, but something has changed.. probably the type of person that comprises todays diver and, coupled with that, their attitude to what constitutes a fair deal and their determination to see it through.
I would suggest that over the years the same may have happened on the ROV side of things so there is a possibility that joining the RMT would be of benefit.

In any ROV dispute the divers are more likely to support members of their uni0n offshore than any other. The same would apply in reverse.

The last round of pay talks stalled to the point where the companies couldn't, or wouldn't, admit to themselves that a strike was on the cards.
Should we join the RMT and allow then to negotiate pay and conditions for us then we would likely be included in the next annual talks on such matters. Should the outcome be not to ours, nor the divers, liking then we could use our combined strength to try and come to an agreement.

Should we, as ROV personnel, become members of an Engineering Uni0n?
I cannot see where we would get our offshore support from.
When you take the ships crews into account you are more likely to have more RMT members on a vessel at any one time than members of an Engineering uni0n.

In future, should we (ROV) be members of the RMT and a strike call was made then with the divers involved it’s likely that all DSV's (Be they diver or ROV only) would be shut down as there would be no ROV option which unfortunately was available to clients in the last divers dispute. In a nutshell SubSea operations would cease.

As it's offshore where the companies we work for make their money then it needs to be offshore that we are strongest so combining with divers (uni0n wise) is probably a sensible way to go IMHO.

For the above reasons I will be joining the RMT.

best regards
James Mc
James Mc
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Further to my last post... I have just re-joined the RMT.

I say rejoined... because I allowed my membership to lapse years ago when I moved to Asia and was no longer working in the UK sector nor with RMT members on vessels.

best regards
James Mc
James Mc
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The days of unions are long gone!
Time you muppets woke up and got in the real world it was ok in the 70's but one person killed it.

Do none of you remember THATCHER? Evil or Very Mad
Grouty wrote:
The days of unions are long gone!

Of course they are.... and on that basis it must have been a bunch of muppets from Fantasy Island that negotiated on behalf of the divers last year, or was it just individual 'Jack the lad' Divers ringing up and trying to sort things out?

Talk about being locked in past.... Muppets? Fantasy Island?
We've moved on a bit from those days.

BTW. Thanks for adding your constructive comments to the debate.
James Mc
Site Admin

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Sorry gents.

Now way will I be rejoining the RMT.

My own experiences with them (posted elsewhere on this site) suggested to me that it's purely a political organisation, and certainly not interested in it's members unless there is some gain to be had personnelly.

They backed the divers to the hilt, as diving is effectively a closed shop - you need lots of bits of paper before you can get onto a dive job - which meant the companies HAD to deal with them a there was no-one else to take their place.

The ROV game is completely different, as anyone with a survival and medical can go out as a ROV tech- as the companies prove time and again.

'Strike you say!' 'Hello xyz agency, I'd like 6 offshore techs please - ASAP!'

There'd be no 'shut downs', therefore no headlines. see how much backing you get from the RMT then.

I'm certainly not against uni0ns, but I'd prefer to join a one more suited to dealing with our profession.
I was in the pub.

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