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It's great hearing all the discussions about the uni0ns and in my previous jobs I have had good representation by different unions for various reasons. Uni0ns can be good. Once again we get lots of narrative from Ray Shields and once again he is factually incorrect. We can discuss about this uni0n or that uni0n but at the end of the day we really are only interested in Pay and Conditions. It makes no difference what uni0n we join except whether they can improve our Pay and Conditions. Ray, you stay with your "Engineers" uni0n and we'll join a uni0n that has proved if there is enough of us they can improve our Pay and Conditions.

We certainly won't get all ROV guys to join the same uni0n when there is so many negative thoughts.

Ray, are you on a management retainer. Rolling Eyes
Grouty, get your head out of the sand. Laughing
rovnumpty wrote:

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

Which Uni0n might you be referring to when you say you'd prefer to join one more suited to our profession?

Sorry, but I can't think of one better suited to our profession and offshore/vessel orientated working environment, other than the RMT, and I’m having trouble trying to think of another uni0n that would come close to understanding our operational environment and the nature of our work.

best regards
James Mc
James Mc
Site Admin

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General response to various posts on the subject.
This isn't structured but I'll try and get the point across.

Someone mentioned an Engineering Uni0n.
For sure an engineering uni0n might understand the hands on work we do but probably knows bugger all about the ships we work on and the environment we operate in, which counts for a good bit in my mind.

Divers are represented by the RMT, but Divers are not seamen either!
They construct stuff under water... they inspect stuff underwater... shouldn’t they be in an Engineering Uni0n?
They are as much suited to the RMT as we are, so what are they doing in the RMT then?

As I remember it.......

It all came about in the early 80's when there was already a diving Uni0n around.
The diving companies didn't want to deal with the Uni0n, because it was run by divers who knew too much about the diving game, so the AODC (I think) promptly approached the NUS who knew nothing about divers and shafted them in short order. All was well (from the operators point of view) until the NUS wised up a little and started to understand the system. It took a few years.. but it happened eventually.
Later the NUS merged with the Railway and Transport Uni0n some years back and the RMT was the end result.
I was a diver for many years and a bigger bunch jacks I had never seen but, over the years, something has changed. As a result they have become a group that will not tolerate being screwed around and are now reapoing the rewards. In the meantime we are lagging behind the rest on pay and a bunch of self centered individuals will not help our case at all.

Simply because they have to spend a bit of money on courses the divers are not in a 'closed shop' (as someone implied).
Anyone with a medical can trot off down the road spend a couple of weeks of their time and as much as it costs for a new car and hey presto.. they have a new profession.... that's the only difference between starting out in Diving or ROV's. So that's that misconception out of the window.

“Divers this… divers that, they have a closed shop, we should be in another uni0n, we aren’t cohesive and would not support each other …”

…. pretty much sums up the negative aspects of some of the posters here. By all means have a debate but come up with positive solutions (as Ray tried to do) rather than just knock something that is already on the table.

One thing I hate is negativity. What's that all about?
Be positive, do something positive and get a positive result.
Being negative and indecisive will get you nowhere and you'll end up nothing other than bitter and twisted about this business.

Fence sitting?
If you want to join another Uni0n then join it and tell us what it's all about. Tell us it’s plus points and sell the idea.
Please do not sit on the fence.
I remember when the NUS was negotiating divers annual pay and conditions.. non-uni0n (fence sitting) divers wanted to se what the majority did before joining any Uni0n and in the meantime gladly accepted any new benefits and took the money home.. getting a free ride off the back of those that actually joined the uni0n in the first instance and supported it by paying Uni0n fees.

If the RMT start to negotiate improved ROV pay rates next year (2008) and you have not joined the uni0n..... will you refuse the money and take home your original rate or will you accept any better rates and conditions anyway as a freebie?

If all the divers were in an Engineering Uni0n I would say we should join that to create a stronger uni0n covering subsea offshore operations.
As the divers are in the RMT, I say join the RMT.
There is no sense thinking about splitting the ROV guys off into another uni0n because when the chips are down we (ROV) need all the support we can get and in return the divers will benefit from our support in future under the umbrella of one uni0n. We have more in common with divers than any other body of offshore workers, so team up is what I say.
Plus there is nothing more the companies would like than for the divers to be in one uni0n and the ROV people in another.. That would achieve nothing other than keep us well disorganised and disjointed when it comes to having any bargaining power. With the divers and ROV troops in the same Uni0n, as a last resort, offshore subsea operations can come to a 100% halt if the need arises. That didn’t happen in the divers strike and, because the divers are in the RMT it wouldn’t happen with an engineering uni0n involved in ROV negotiations either.

best regards
James Mc
James Mc
Site Admin

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Bee in you bonnet James?

Fair comment on the negativity side of things.

I joined the RMT about 7 years ago. After 3 years of paying my uni0n dues on time etc., I needed some advice from the RMT over 'issues' I was having with the company I was working for. Here's a list of some of the help they gave.

Aberdeen office of the RMT:
'You do what? we only look after the railway mate - speak to the Newcastle branch - they deal with you marine people.'

Newcastle office:
'Oh. now. Your part of the old diving uni0n. There's a bloke in Bath that deals with that. Sorry I can't help.'

The Bloke in Bath:
'This is very inconvienent, can't it wait till after christmas?(this being the first week in December) I'm on holiday till the second week in January. Contact me after that if you still have a problem. No! There isn't anyone else who can help.'

Contrary to what the bloke in bath told me, a very helpfull women at ACAS eventually put me on the right track.

Needless to say, the uni0n dues stopped that month. I must have been infected by the negativity bug then.

I think the divers could have been members of the National uni0n of flower arrangers and still got their deal, BECAUSE they were committed and stuck together.

Is there any divers out there who could tell us where the move for better pay came from? was it initiated by the RMT? Or were they just being the legal side of the whole process?

As for the closed shop thing. A ROV company could pick up the phone and send 6 roustabouts out as an ROV crew if necesary. Not particulary hard to find people with a medical and a survival cert in aberdeen. The job probably wouldn't go too well, but there's nothing legally to stop them. And they've been making CVs up for years anyway.

They'd be looking at what? about 3, 4 or 5 weeks to train a dive team up from scratch with just the neceasary 'bits o paper'.

OK, maybe it's not a closed shop, but we just don't have the same level of bargaining power.
I was in the pub.
rovnumpty wrote:
Bee in you bonnet James?

Fair comment on the negativity side of things.

OK, maybe it's not a closed shop, but we just don't have the same level of bargaining power.

I was on the Winch !!!!!!

No bee in my bonnet as such, but a little used to meeting and dealing with so many people in this game that seem to be hard done by and have a negative (aka Jack) approach to life.
I just can't figure what it's all about.

You replied with a constructive approach, but why are you projecting the lack of having same level of bargaining power as the divers as being a negative point?
To be fair you didn't actually state that it was a negative point, but there is no way what you wrote could be construed as a positive expression.
Same level of bargaining power as the divers?
Does it really matter whether we have the same level of bargaining power or not?
Is that what people are looking for?
It's not a pissing competition about who has the better bargaining power. It's all to do with cohesive support, within our operations.
Forget all the 'Brother this' and 'Brother that' stuff, it’s simply about trying to get a little bit of a joint effort on the move to protect our collective interests.

Back to the overall topic
I sense this……

Oops! This all seems a bit like some effort might be needed to make all this work. I guess staying out of the way, on the winch, is the easy solution. Occasionally I’ll just try and mention the downsides instead of finding positive solutions. After a while, hopefully, someone will hand me what I really want on a plate for no hassle on my part.

Yeah.. for sure that last paragraph was sarcastic, but those that bite and respond to it will be exactly the ones it was aimed at. Fire away!

Last edited by jamesmc on 17:54 Tue 13 Feb 07; edited 1 time in total
James Mc
Site Admin

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To all the folks interested in the uni0n(s),

Both James and rovnumpty have valid, comprehensive points. Neither should be dismissed.

In my opinion, the most important aspect of this string / topic is the fact that there definitely ISN'T much cohesion within the ROV community. I don't know what's worse, the countless self-impressed ROVers OR the certain type of apathy of many ROVers.

I can understand the problems of "having to work to get the coinage" (been there) as well as the power struggles / competitveness amongst the newer fellows / lasses - it's endemic.

A fairly sensible solution would be to eliminate that lack of cohesion amongst the troops. Then and only then would we, as a group would be able to join or ( better yet) form some sort of uni0n with the divers in cahoots - hell, let them run it (hairy-arsed divers can be formidable!)! Oz had a fairly good uni for awhile in the late 70's / early 80's - it worked til' some finances went astray (musta been a Bond fan). Uni0n history (ies) haven't had the best of the best in their upper mngmt...
I got your economic downturn right here!!!
I agree with numpty. Agency xyz would fill the gaps in no time. No doubt some strikers would also work elsewhere during a strike for agency xyz!!
I also resent unions using its members to fulfill the political aims of its leaders.
Incidently on that note it wasnt Thatcher that killed the unions it was scargill that put the unions in a position that they had to be controlled.
Unions have no right to interfere with a democratically elected government just because they dont agree with said governments policies.
The only answer is the next ballot box!!!

On the subject of pay the divers were on agreed rates across the industry (more or less)
How many ROV companies pay standard rates to begin with??? None that I am aware of.Does a standard rate exist!! Is that a route to go down.
The best bargaining power we have is companies having to leapfrog each other. Give them parity on pay scales and the power shifts to employers.

At the moment we seem to be doing quiet well on our own. If the company you work for wont pay the rate move to one that will.

You should try working for the Italians.

That's definetly life threatening. They think HSE stands for Help Saipem Expand.

Rover37 has a point about standard rates. The divers got such a huge pay rise as the companies had been able to keep the divers rates very low through the 'agreed' rates for years, using the 'diving is a dead horse' argument again and again. Now it's been proved otherwise, the divers rightly got a little payback.

We need to turn 'professional'. We need an outside, independant body to administer an assessment scheme for ROV people.

And I'm not talking about that rubbish that IMCA came up with. Thats designed by the ROV companies with enough loopholes for them and plenty of brick walls for us.

I got fed up with being told my 'IMCA wasn't up to date' as an excuse for getting offered crap money by one of the UK agencies during the last quiet spell. So I joined the Institute of Marine Engineers (IMarEST). It took a bit of work, but they eventually recognised me as an Incorporated Engineer, registered with the engineering council of England and Wales. Now that don't mean bugger all in the ROV industry, but it's a proffesionally recognised qualification outside it.

OK, it didn't get me a huge, immiedate pay rise. But if someone managed to convince the oil companies that only 'professional' ROV people were acceptable on jobs, in the same way as only 'professional' accountants or civil engineers are, I reckon you'd see our pay start to head skywards.

And just for you James, I've changed my signature.
I was in the pub.
Has anybody heard any rumours about what was said in the above meting please? The information flow is as non-existant as ever...
Before the inevitable and well- founded ridicule begins, the above comment is referring to the Subsea 7 employee reps meeting on Fri 16 Feb. I deleted some text by accident. Doh!
allstop wrote:
Before the inevitable and well- founded ridicule begins, the above comment is referring to the Subsea 7 employee reps meeting on Fri 16 Feb. I deleted some text by accident. Doh!

Anyone know the outcome of said meeting???
I got your economic downturn right here!!!
Ok RoVnumpty , a question for ya .
How much are we talking in regards to the little money per year for being a member of this RMT ?
I also recall and was working offshore as a diver when the who-ha in the eighties regarding NUS and the PDA !
I was in two minds to which uni0n to join !
The PDA called a strike ( the secretary none the less ) and then went on holiday ! The NUS would not support the divers action saying that we earnt too much as it was and the reason for going on strike was in no way at the same catagory as Miners striking and Ferryboat Seamen !
To say I was pretty pissed off because the money that the PDA were asking was excessive and had no teeth with a bad taste in ya mouth after that fiasco !
I agree with you in regards to the bums on seats though !
Having a uni0n that deals ONLY with issues of pay ( SCALE STRUCTURE )
and conditions is one thing, Going on strike because You OR I have run a guy off because he is dangerous or an annoyance to the rest of the team or shipmates and he ( or she ) bleats to a "uni0n" that they were unfairly run off and wants compensation for the embarressment and emotional distress. Hmmmmmmmmmmm I am , I admit reluctant !
It's like ( and you either agree or not ) A women joins the army and insists on being at the front with the rest of the men , even having extra priviliges because she is a woman which causes resentment.........then falls pregnant ( by mysterious means Shocked ) The army removes her from the front line and sends her home ( because she wants to have the baby ) and she then SUES the army for unfair dismissal and emotional strain !
I Personally disagree with the reasons why she should be given any money whats so ever ! It was her choice to go in that environment and Of course ! Shocked She is a woman that carries babies !
BUT being part of the "uni0n" I would be forced to go on strike because of a stupid Politically correct system or idiotic Uni0n reps that have NO idea or conception of what life offshore or what degree of integrity is needed to sort out what is Pay and conditions.
That , James is the reason why I am fencing !
I have not seen or heard of anybody ( That knows what he is talking about in regards to OUR industry ) That I am willing to pay to sit on his
( or her ) arse .
And who is to say who is qualified to fly or fix ROV's ?
And who gives the qualifier his qualifications ?
I do not agree with the money spinning schools or the way they are advertising people to get into our industry and I have heard Many people tell me how this instructor or that instructor was a complete knobhead !
So who gave these " Instructors " their stripes ?
Until someone comes up with a realistic idea how to govern the new recruits ( And old gits ) And I used the term realistic idea not stupid ,
I shall then put money into a worthwhile uni0n . Smile
So, Ray. You dont drive a bus, swim underwater, or do anything else that is supported by the RMT? Just where is it that you do most of your work, as even if you have a background in engineering, it does not mean that it is the main focus of your work at present. The RMT do a fine job of representing people and I would urge all ROV personnel to join ASAP otherwise we will all end up getting shafted by our various companies.

As for ROV's taking over from divers.......get down from behind the fluffy cloud you are sat on, and look at the world from a real mans perspective. All the divers I work with respect and acknowledge that the work we do actually enhances their work, if done in the correct manner. Have a word with yourself and try taking the blinkers off once in a while.
Ok Sausage , Very Happy
Who is it that runs the RMT ?
Whats his name ? Who is he ?
What years of experience has he or his mob got in ROV's
Is this on hands ? or Management time ? Which company did he work for ?
Not enough info on who is running the show .
I'm still fencing , Not good enough Confused
Put ya brain in gear before ye open thy gob !
Well I've never been in a uni0n, so can't say if it's a good thing or not. I could see how *maybe* it would be benificial to salary personnel with arbitration between employer and employee, unfair dismissal etc, but what about freelance personnel ? At the moment times are good and if pay / conditions are rubbish hopefully you can choose something better. Supply and demand. Seems the pay is still going up, no uni0ns involved to the best of my knowledge. What happens if things go downhill ? The salary guy might get the uni0n to negotiate a good severence pay if there's not enough work to go around. What can they do for the freelancers who once finish their trip are basically unemployed anyway. How much reach do they have, i.e. it use to be that the mainland Chinese used to get less than a tenth of the average worldwide rate, apparently passports and visa's for working outside China were *difficult*, and I was told by one of them "they didn't make a fuss because there were a million other Chinese guys waiting to take their jobs". I don't know if things have improved since then but would the RMT be able to do anything internationally ?. Seems to be a lot of "join the RMT for better pay and conditions" but no information as to how they will achieve this on an international level or any other level for that matter. Join now and ask questions afterwards just doesn't work for me, as such I remain to be convinced.

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