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Just a couple of points to throw into the mix:-
1. To dive you need an industry recognised qualification - pretty much worldwide these days. To ROV, you don't officially need any qualifications. The divers went on strike and could not be replaced - if ROV went on strike, we have seen at SS7 that they are easily replaced.
2. The divers agreement was for North Sea - divers elsewhere didn't benefit much. What if we don't always ROV in the North Sea - i doubt we would feel the same 'benefits' elsewhere.

The constant haranguing of people to 'wake up' etc is becoming oppressive. Let people make a free choice and lets not belittle either side of the argument.

This is a post about union matters. It has been posted in the union board. If you are not interested in such things please look in a place other than here.
You must be able to decide (on your own) not have to read this if you do not wish to.

End of warning!

If you agree with the above please proceed.......

if ROV went on strike, we have seen at SS7 that they are easily replaced.

Incorrect... but that's just my opinion.
All we have seen is that it is easy to get cheap ROV trainees into the UK sector from other countries.
We certainly have not seen, at SS7, that ROV are easily replaced and I fail to see what gave you that impression.

You cannot easily replace ROV people. As most people around here know it takes time to train a team of people to operate and maintain an ROV system. However SS7 have already started the ball rolling by hiring cheap foreign labour and bringing them into the UK sector. If nothing is done about that now, it won't matter in the longer term because eventually the teams will be 100% Filipino (from trainee to supervisor) and they wouldn't strike as they are on mega bucks!

There are plenty of divers worldwide with HSE PtII sat tickets (me included) but many of the foreign divers won't get a look into the UK sector because they would have to be on the same rate as the UK divers due to the RMT agreement. When having to pay that kind of money to divers (oddly) companies choose to use their own countrymen. The same would happen if there were a blanket subsea agreement in place covering Divers, ROV and other subsea related vocations. That idea is being debated now on the OILC Forum but it's early days and we have to get the divers in on the idea. To me (now) it is very apparent that having a stand alone ROV agreement would play into the companies hands.

All that is being looked for here is for UK jobs to be filled by UK people on fair rates. Just the same as in Norway and Australia. Or... bring in foreign labour by all means, but they must be paid as per the agreement that is being pushed for and then let them compete on level terms.

If ROV and Divers (plus other vocations) work together on this then there will be strength in numbers and there is a chance it can be sorted in the North sea at least. It will also see the UK follow on behind Norway and Australia in looking after their own people.


2. The divers agreement was for North Sea - divers elsewhere didn't benefit much. What if we don't always ROV in the North Sea - i doubt we would feel the same 'benefits' elsewhere.

You are right, the benefits may not be felt as much elsewhere but, no matter where you currently live and work, the repercussions of doing nothing will be felt.
Are there UK people around the world that really want to see Filipinos take away UK ROV jobs and not lift a finger to help prevent it? Once they have a few North Sea jobs in their CV they will start filtering through the global system closer to home and you'll be replaced in Singapore (or wherever you happen to be working) for someone willing to work for $48/day or maybe a few dollars more as a supervisor!

The constant haranguing of people to 'wake up' etc is becoming oppressive. Let people make a free choice and lets not belittle either side of the argument.

Nobody is constantly haranguing anybody.

Has anybody, other than union group members, ever received a PM from this forum about union information? No!
Have any members of this forum ever received an email through their registered forum address about union matters? No!
Is anybody forced to read post about union matters? No
Is there a section in this forum that says quite clearly in it's title: Uni0n Information (General Discussion)? Yes!

People have a choice They can read union stuff or not. Each post referring to unions can be clearly seen to be in a board dedicated to union discussions. If there are union posts outside the union board please advise me and I will move them to their correct location.
There is only one union board with open public access.
If people feel harangued then they are reading the wrong posts in the wrong board and might wish to read through any of the other Thirty Eight boards there are in this Forum.

In short, if people are not interested in union matters then don't read the stuff posted in this union discussion board and they won't feel harangued. How easy is that?

If you are in the OILC branch of the RMT you should register at: and add to the ROV discussions going on.
You'll need your RMT number to hand on registration.

Last edited by jamesmc on 16:01 Thu 01 Oct 09; edited 5 times in total
James Mc
Site Admin

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I have to agree with Norfolk here. There has been an element of you are a uni0n member or you are a fence sitter going on here.

This is a discussion after all. If everyone had the same opinion and the same point of view then the concerns of some pilots who are unsure about the situation may be missed due to what seems like quite aggresive wording of some posts.

The problem with this whole thing is industry reaction. Will agencies start to refuse to sign up Uni0n members because they cost to much. Or will it end up being the other way where as you have to be in the Uni0n to be accepted for work.

If, and obviously this a big if, the uni0n starts pay and condition talks and it gets to the point where a strike ballot is called and the uni0n goes out on strike what happens to those who do not wish to strike and try to work on.

Things got awful nasty during the miners strike would we see this offshore??

Maybe the next general disscusion on this subject should be what would it take to get an anti-uni0n ROV Pilot to join the OILC.
I will Join the Union

Last edited by Slayered on 21:59 Thu 01 Oct 09; edited 1 time in total
So how do you go on strike without organising through a union Question Question Confused

Strikes aren't in anybodies best interest but the threat of it must be real.
I reckon theres too many I'm alright Jacks or people who for some reason are so anti union they'd rather close their eyes to whats happening in this industry to make a strike work.
It's these people we need to convince to join preventing an actual strike itself.

Collective bargaining seems the only way to me.
This is from someone who was never anti union but thought provided I could do my job the company would see me okay and there was no need to join.
So far that philosophy has worked but for how much longer ?
I agree Shocked
Put ya brain in gear before ye open thy gob !
But does luckjim37 ?????

He's not the only one out there so how do you get these guys to join ?
Some just don't see what the future holds unless something is done.

The thing that really irks is so long as they sit back playing into their companies hands we're all going to suffer
if an agreement is reached (unlikely unless they do sign up) they've done nothing to help but will reap the benefits.
Something else to think about Confused
All those people in the last three years with no experience that have finally got into the Industry , Do not wish to rock the boat Shocked They will not join because they think they will be out of a job Confused
All those people who have said old and bolds should get out of the way for the young ones ! Now's your chance to put your money where your mouth is Smile It will get rid of "deadwood" and raise the pay whilst give what is due to experienced personnel ............................... Like me Very Happy
Bring it onnnnnnnnnnnnn .......................... Twisted Evil
Put ya brain in gear before ye open thy gob !
Norfolk wrote
The constant haranguing of people to 'wake up' etc is becoming oppressive. Let people make a free choice and lets not belittle either side of the argument.

I fail to understand people who say this if they are experienced and have worked in the industry a long time Shocked I did not think I would join either but you don't really need too many brain cells to realise that our indusrty is getting screwed Rolling Eyes
I disagree with your statement there old chap espeicially as it was put in the "Union Information discussion forum" Shocked
Put ya brain in gear before ye open thy gob !
225 wrote:
Divers again..... Nobody likes to mention the Subsea 7 riggers who have lost there jobs and continue to do so. Many of whom were fully paid up members. The union did nothing to prevent the use of cheaper labour. The last resort of withdrawing labour would have meant being replaced sooner rather then later for those guys. Without this trump card it was always going to be a lost cause.

If the riggers striked your right they'd be down the street sooner.
Can we use the riggers as a model for ROV though ?
Thats a serious question as I honestly don't know.
Can an offshore riggers learn their trade in a Korean shipyard or merchant navy for example.
If so it's very unfortunate and likely something SS7 knew only to well which is why they were picked off first.

Regardless of that you can't learn ROV's without being in the ROV industry.
What's happening now ? We're seeing cheap foreign ROV trainees.
Can you see where this is going ?
If everyone stuck together now we can avoid the situation the riggers find themselves in.

The union should have been more involved with the riggers.
Why weren't they ?
Did they try ?
Was it already a lost cause ?
Over to the RMT with those questions.
If I was a rigger I'd be feeling let down but I still can't see that as a reason to stand aside and eventually be replaced or forced to work for the square root of f*ck all.
Perhaps then ROV and offshore yunion members should be looking to the OILC to lobby parliamnent for a change in working laws?;so cheap foreign labour is not so easily available to work for a british company.?
Or make the companies pay them the going rate?
If other countries can make it difficult for non residents to work why not the UK??????
I've written this before on this site. 'Roll over a give up why don't we!'

People.... What has happened to our so called 'Great Nation' looking out for themselves?

It's very weak willed to suggest that we must accept the inevitable. No matter where the result may potentially come from I feel that people must act to protect jobs in their own country from cheap foreign labour. If anyone here, as Brits, wants to argue for inevitability then I feel sorry for them.

The Norwegians look after their own. The Aussies look after their own, the Americans try to protect their industry, why shouldn't the Brits?
James Mc
Site Admin

Shocked Search First - Ask questions later Thumb Up
Simple James , Us Brits , ( Multi Cultured , F#!ked-up nation ) will stand up for our rights when there is nothing left to stand up for Confused
The hard working , tax paying , middleclass BACKBONE of this country will have moved out a long time ago to care and Europe will use the Island as an immigration and prison dumping ground for nuclear waste Shocked
Put ya brain in gear before ye open thy gob !
lostboy wrote:
................ and Europe will use the Island as an immigration and prison dumping ground for nuclear waste Shocked

To mimic some people around here.......

Oh well, if that is going to happen anyway then it's not worth saying or doing anything to stop the inevitable then, is it?

........and there was me ( as an ex-diver) thinking that, if the majority of ROV got together and voted with their feet, it might make a difference. Buggered if I know where I got that idea from Wink

Those objecting to the idea of collective bargaining
One thing that jacks me off is that they argue against the idea yet offer no alternative. As divers we had that in the early days too.

So, on the one hand, we have a bunch of proactive people trying to make a difference and on the other hand we have people that are suggesting that collective bargaining will not solve the problem, yet it did with the divers
I'll mention divers as often as I wish, because I was one. I was in the NUS (later RMT) and what we did then made a huge difference as you can clearly still see today! So, don't try and convince me that the collective bargaining, in the Subsea sector, can't help us when it clearly can... but only when it has the right people in sufficient numbers as members.

I'll listen to any objection to any plan, as long as a solution is offered by way of supporting that objection, but please don't argue against an initiative unless you have a viable alternative. Believe it or not, doing nothing! is not a viable alternative in my books.

To those of you still arguing against the ROV union initiative
Come up with an alternative plan to support your argument and make a difference, or simply fade away because if nothing is done your jobs will imply fade away also.

or..... consider ........

How much are you being paid a year? 50 60 70 80k a year?
To get where you are today you started as a trainee once didn't you?
That would no longer be an option under the do nothing principle.

The union states quite clearly that members have the following benefits:
Legal assistance when you need it, Accident benefit, Death benefit, Orphan benefit, Credit cards, Loans,

  • Legal Services
    Advice on all work-related and union matters.
    Advice on non-work related legal queries.
    For those arrested by the police or questioned under caution.

  • Accident Benefit
    Accident benefit of ten times your membership dues per week for up to 26 weeks is payable if the member is injured in the course of employment or travelling to or from work. The benefit is payable at the end of the incapacity, or after 26 weeks, whichever is the sooner.

  • Death Grant
    A Death Grant of £500 is payable to the nearest relative or legal representative if a member dies through any cause prior to retirement.

  • Orphan Benefit
    Orphan benefit of £10 per week per child up to 16 years of age, and £12.75 per week per child continuing to receive full-time education from 16 up to 22 years of age, is payable on a member's death.

  • Retirement Benefit
    RMT Retirement Benefit is payable to members on retirement at normal age, or earlier if permanently incapacitated due to ill health or retired under redundancy and resettlement arrangements when over 55 years of age. Retirement Benefit is calculated at the rate of £3 for each completed year's membership between 1 January 1965 and 31 August 2003 (and completed years' membership of the Disablement Fund prior to 1965), and at £5 for each completed year of membership after 1 September 2003.

  • Permanent Downgrading or Demotion Benefit
    Benefit of £300 is payable to RMT members, subject to rule, on permanent downgrading or demotion due to personal accident, sicknessor physical defect.

  • Credit and Loans/Facilities
    RMT Credit Union Ltd - set up by RMT members to provide accessible savings and affordable loans to RMT members.
    Please note: From February 1, 2008 the Credit Union loan rate will revert to the standard rate of 12.68% APR for all new loan applications. Our loan rates remain extremely competitive compared to the high street banks and other profit-making companies.

The union does not promise to protect jobs
It's organisers hope that if members want the chance of having some form of protection and representation they will join in numbers and give the union organisers sufficient bargaining power to negotiate with their employers. They currently have the same people in place now that negotiate the divers agreement.

The rest is up to you! - Nobody is going to hand it to you on a plate.

Plan a)
Get on-board for any reason but, for sure, joining will add your name to the ever growing ROV members list and one day, even though you did nothing other than join and pay monthly fees (how much effort does that take?), you'll wake up and realise that you still have a job and that there is a Subsea agreement in place protecting your employment conditions and pay in the same manner that the divers have enjoyed for years.

Plan b) Do absolutely nothing!
Trouble is I can't see that helping anybody can you?

When the NUS/RMT union and it's members finally got an offshore divers agreement in place
Interestingly the dissenters (non union members) objected in similar ways to what we are seeing here, but you know what?
Once the agreement was in force they accepted the better benefits and pay and didn't object from that point onwards.
Not one of them insisted that they stay on pre-agreement conditions and pay because quite there simply were no conditions in place, and the pay was yo-yo'ing around the way we see happening to the Subsea sector now.

Last edited by jamesmc on 16:46 Sat 03 Oct 09; edited 2 times in total
James Mc
Site Admin

Shocked Search First - Ask questions later Thumb Up
There has been a lot of talk regarding the divers agreement thing that they negotiated.

Out of utter curiosity is there any sort of draft agreement in place yet for the ROV industry and if so what kind of protection is being thought of for agency workers which make up a big percentage of the ROV staff being used within the industry.

Being deliberately a pain aside if there is nothing within this agreement to assist/support agency workers then there is no point in signing up to it. The other major concern I have is if the payrate is set to high then a lot of agencies workers may end up seeing massive differences in day rates between working in and out of the North sea area. I.E. you may get £450 a day in the north sea but then find working in Egypt for example the rate might drop to say £300 a day as employers try to make back some of the wage bill by cutting rates outside of the North sea and some of the other areas with these kind of agreements.
This would make any financial planning very difficult due to potential earnings for the year being potentially very varied.

Now I can already hear the normal voices saying nobody would work for that etc. However once every job in the North sea is filled then as a day rate agency worker eventually you have to take what is on offer and that could be costly.

I agree it would probably get rid of some of the dross inside the North sea but at the same time every pilot good or bad is in an agreement negotiation a number and as everyone is saying numbers matter.

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