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Recently we have acquired a new, and already active, Forum member.

Neil is an appointed branch secretary of the OILC/RMT and has joined this Forum in the hope of harmonising ROV Uni0n membership.
For those outside the UK sector do not dismiss this as not applying to you because any gains in conditions made in the UK sector can have worldwide impact.

Neil is fully aware that ROV people make up a good percentage of the sub-sea construction/inspection industry and that Uni0n membership, and activities in that respect, should not be limited only to Divers with ROV being viewed as a tack on group.

You need to be aware that Neil does not have an ROV background but is currently employed offshore in the Industry, closely connected to the drilling side of things. He is an integral part of a Uni0n formed, post piper Alfa, to protect the interested of offshore workers.
In other words. Our new member has worked offshore for years and is still active in the industry. He also has past experience working within the Norwegian Uni0n system.

Please read below. It is a quote from another thread in this Forum but as it is directly Uni0n related and well presented I invite others to add their comments and continue the discussion under the Uni0n section of this Forum.

Before you do... note that Uni0n has the letter 'o' transposed with the number '0'. There is a reason for this posted elsewhere in this forum.
Do the same and your post will go up.. ignore the little difference and the system will not accept your post.

OILC_neil wrote:
It seems to me that there is no value produced without our labour. At it’s simplest, you have to at least pick an Mobile Phone manufacturer off the tree, and make it available to the hungry, in order to have imparted value to that Mobile Phone manufacturer. It has no value lying rotting underneath the tree.

The colossal profits of the Shells and BPs and the growing profits, I guess, of the ROV employers, is down to us. No matter how favourable market conditions are, without us, without our labour, there would be no oil and no profits let alone superprofits.

The employers pay us as little as they can get away with. The less they pay, the more they keep. If they can move production to low wage areas they will. If they can import low cost labour they will (as long as that labour has the skills to do the job). If they can keep wages just high enough to keep you working, and the job running, they will. And the way they traditionally do this is by bargaining from a position of strength. They are big corporations, or are in cartels, and they negotiate with us as individuals. They threaten, bully and “make examples” of us when all else fails.

The answer seems obvious if not easy, because potentially we have the stronger hand. We produce the wealth and theoretically at least, we can stop producing it. But we need to be united in order to negotiate from our potential position of strength. That is what a trade uni0n is. Joining a trade uni0n can solve some of your problems immediately – for example it can offer you the legal support you might need if your employer decided that you are going to be the “example” that’s going to encourage the rest to keep their heads down. The uni0n will also fight your corner if your employer maims you in the process. But the hard bit is organising the strength from which we can negotiate agreements that reward us in good years. Agreements that we can use to defend ourselves in the bad years.

There are precedents that we can learn from. The Norwegian oilfield is solidly organised and conditions are far superior to the UK oilfield or indeed anywhere else I’ve ever been. Yes Norway has specific conditions and a specific history that has perhaps worked in the favour of the workers there. But the bottom line is that Norwegian oil workers have solidly organised in their uni0ns. These uni0ns support RMT/OILC and will help us as we help ourselves. It is in their interest anyway to do so. And the agreements that they have won are in many cases with our very employers. The Norwegian workers have, in a sense, shown us what our employers are prepared to concede if we organise effectively.

So joining the uni0n is an important step, but only a first step. Recruiting your colleagues, organising your workplace, formulating your demands and sticking together is the bit that needs the work put in on it. It seems like this forum is the first step at self organisation. Joining OILC/RMT would be the logical next step. But remember, the uni0n is not people who do things for you. It’s you and your colleagues sticking together. And the step after that, I guess, would be to get speaking to the Norwegian ROVers. I’m confident OILC could facilitate that.

neil


Last edited by jamesmc on 16:53 Fri 08 Aug 08; edited 1 time in total
James Mc
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Been talking a lot about the uni0n on my last trip offshore and a lot of guys a becoming disenchanted by the uni0n (RMT) a lot of them became members during the divers last round of industial action but are beginning to think that there uni0n dues are a waste of money.

They feel that the uni0n seems to be happy to take our money whilst there has been no recognition of our industry or even mention in the RMT literature that we get sent out to our homes.

Thinsub
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In the context of feeling a little let down, by the way RMT handled new ROV RMT members, some ROV crew offshore discussed this matter whilst at the job site and concluded that......

thinsub wrote:

They feel that the uni0n seems to be happy to take our money whilst there has been no recognition of our industry or even mention in the RMT literature that we get sent out to our homes.

Thinsub


I am inclined to agree with this and would be interested to see Neil's comments on the matter, along with the way he may feel that input from the OILC (into the RMT) might be able to help redress this shortfall.

The real way forward here is for the ROV troops to know that they have a defined line of communication to the Uni0n. A name (for point of contact) email and phone numbers plus dedicatd branch number (one branch only) that they should join so that one branch is dealing with ROV matters.
For sure I feel that the branch a member joins should not be based on area of residence but on (in the ROV case) occupation. This will ensure that one branch is able to easily collate and deal with ROV membership matters.

There is most certainly a void in this respect when you look at the previous RMT set-up.
I have already made this point (by email) as a concern of mine.

A few issues:

    1) RMT and OILC have merged so what is the name of the new Uni0n?

    2) Which Uni0n branch should ROV people join so that they are not scattered around within the Uni0n system all over the UK.
    The last thing we want is to increase Uni0n interest and then lose that because the new members are spread thinly in branches that have no idea what they are about.

    3) Will existing members of the RMT/OILC, possibly registered under different branches, be automatically transferred to a single branch designated to handle ROV matters?

    4) When the above branch has been confirmed what is the simplest way to join?

    5) Will someone be taking on the Role as onshore ROV representative?
    If so, even if they do not have an ROV background themselves, they will gradually become knowledgeable on ROV matters so that they may be better equipped to deal with ROV concerns. Having one person representing ROV one day, and another person the next, will not cut it.


Until some of the above points have been clarified/defined, especially a dedicated point of contact for ROV matters with full contact information being supplied, the ROV UNi0n issue will continue to be a disjointed affair and no progress will be made.

I would like to say however that Neil has taken the initiative here and I, for one, hope that this moves on into something more beneficial for ROV uni0n members.
James Mc
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Good on you, James.

You've hit the nail on the head - the precise problems I found with the RMT. Unfortunatly, I didn't find out about them until I needed Uni0n assistance.

If Neil can come back with some cohesive answers, I may reconsider my RMT stance. I wont be diving back into paying my uni0n dues, but it's a step in the right direction.

Thanks for the effort James. You sure you don't want to reconsider that shop steward position? I may even start forking out the £14 a month again if I knew there was someone in the RMT I could count on.
I was in the pub.
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Don't know Neil at all but his input has a few valuable points to take note on. Mainly that a uni0n is it's members and they drive it forward.
I joined the OILC prior to the sit in on the Millar in 89 (god,- I'm old!!), and their input during the dispute was valuable (I have to say that- RD was a pal), but really, it was good to have an organisation behind us.
It was there that the phrase was coined "the sky will be black with choppers getting you c~@*s off here"(--true!, I was on the commitee it was said to).
But you should think hard and long before considering pulling your dues. You may not think you need them but they don't only talk about pay rises!!!
I'll kick my soap box back under my seat now an get back to work--
Better looking at it than looking for it!
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Quote:
You've hit the nail on the head - the precise problems I found with the RMT.


Good to see some dialogue from others on here and I'm glad that some of the issues I raised in my earlier post were deemed pertinent.

No doubt Neil will respond. I have also sent him a PM recently. But please keep in mind that he does have a job offshore so is not waiting at the beck and call of just Uni0n matters. It may well be that he is looking into what the plans are on the ROV front before responding. I'm sure he'll be along soon enough.

Quote:
But you should think hard and long before considering pulling your dues. You may not think you need them but they don't only talk about pay rises!!!


I agree.


Last edited by jamesmc on 15:32 Sat 09 Aug 08; edited 1 time in total
James Mc
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Interesting... if my memory serves me right this thread has added about 100 reads today... looks like people are interested in what might be being said but not overly keen to contribute themselves.
James Mc
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Guys,
All RMT members have the option of transferring to the OILC Branch of RMT (S100), but to be honest I'm not sure how you would go about it. (I'll get back to you on this. It's taking the old OILC guys a bit of time to get our heads round the new procedures). But whatever you decide to do, I need to have your email addresses - all RMT members that is - and I'll keep in touch on behalf of the OILC branch. This is important because it is Jake Molloy OILC who has responsibility for "representing" you if you're an offshore energy worker, whatever branch you’re in. That is if you fall foul of your employers or get hurt or whatever, it'll be Jake who'll be in your corner with you. And when we get into negotiations with the ROV companies it'll be Jake you take with you. Jake was General Secretary of OILC before the merger and is now RMT regional organiser with responsibility for offshore.
So maybe you could pass on this message to the RMT members you know. Get off an email to me with your phone number and address and what branch you belong to and I'll get you all on a mailing list.
The first thing I’ll do is send you an electronic copy of the first two editions of "Enough is Enough". (I'd post them on here for you to download if I knew how to do it) Nothing about ROV in them as yet. But there will be as soon as the experts (you lot) get some info to me. Letters to the editor (emails) are the way to do it. After that I guess it's a question of all the OILC/RMT ROVers, getting in contact with each other, getting as many new guys signed up as possible, and setting down some sort of idea of what you would want to see in an agreement with your employers. In the meantime I'll have a word with our colleagues in Industri Energi and SAFE, the two Norwegian offshore uni0ns, and get in contact with their ROV members. It might be useful for you guys to see just what your employers are prepared to concede to your Norwegian counterparts - who I'm guessing are organised. (nearly all offshorer workers in Norway are).
Also could someone give me a list of the ROV employers so I can identify OILC Branch members on the database, who might be ROVers?
In the meantime I'll monitor the rovworld forum and try and get a handle on what you guys do and want, and see what we can do to facilitate your attempt to organise yourselves. In the very near future it might be an idea to get a list together of all those ROVers who agree to exchange email addresses, as a way of facilitating discussion directly between members. The uni0n is you guys. I will help in whatever way I can and in Jake you have a very powerful resource. But you guys need to get strong (get the membership) and decide what you want in the way of an agreement with your employers. (A wish list of terms and conditions)
I look forward to keeping in touch. In the meantime I'll contact the Norwegian unions and see if I can get an English translation of their Service Avtale (agreement between the unions and the service company employers ) and local agreements (agreements specifically between ROV employees and their various employers).
Fraternally
neil
OILC Branch Secretary
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Neil,

Good to hear from OILC/RMT as there seems to be a lot of people losing heart.

Please can you give us a forwarding e-mail address to allow us to pass on our wish lists!

Also look forward to the transfer info as many of us joined the RMT or were dual members before the merger.

Thanks again, very refreshing.

And remember all, a uni0n is for life, not just for personal gain...........
Shy bairns get nowt
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Quote:
The first thing I’ll do is send you an electronic copy of the first two editions of "Enough is Enough". (I'd post them on here for you to download if I knew how to do it)


Neil

There is now a new section in Downloads. (Just created).

Look at the Site Navigation menu [to the left], click on 'Downloads' and look for:

RMT-OILC News Letters & Info (This title can be renamed at any time if need be).
Click on that section to open it (currently empty) and then look for Add Download in the small horizontal menu in the top of the downloads section.

If the News files are live on a server anywhere (RMT/OILC website for example) you should be able to submit a download and add the link to the file plus a short description.

Once you submit, we check it and approve the download.
From that moment it will be live.
We must approve before hand to prevent unwanted downloads automatically being added to our system.
The system is closely monitored so anything submitted is normally checked within 24 hrs.

Please PM me if you have any problems.


Last edited by jamesmc on 16:32 Sat 09 Aug 08; edited 1 time in total
James Mc
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If you want to join you should join the OILC Branch of RMT (S100).

You can join online via the: RMT-OILC website signup page

NB. Do not use the above on-line membership form if...

* You wish to pay in cash or by paybill.
* You wish to pay weekly.
* You wish to pay by Direct Debit from an account other than one for which you are the account holder.
* You wish to pay by Direct Debit from a business account that requires more than one person to authorise debits.
* You wish to apply and/or pay for membership by post.

Please contact the Free Helpline instead...
Telephone : 0800 376 3706
Lines Open
Weekdays: 0800 to 1800 hours
Saturday 0930 to 1600 hours.

E-mail : info@rmt.org.uk
James Mc
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Guys,
Checked out this thread this am to see if it had developed any, noticed as James has already said "lots more views", but not many replies (shows people are thinking about it, maybe).
Something I think I should have said on my last, but it was sort of developing into a rant so I decided to cut and run, I have worked offshore for a very long time in various guises from construction, commissioning, core crew, diving, through to ROV and have seen a lot of employers working practices, good, bad, very bad, and indifferent and have worked most types of payment, short term contract, salaried and agency.
The main ethos of 99.999% of employers is that "you have to play the game with them but they don't have to play the game with you",and the biggest thanks you will ever get is that they will let you come to work next trip .
Now that all the pre-amble is done, here is what I should have put in my last post,: "I know we all think that we are one man bands looking after our own and our families interests,and to an extent we are but theres more, offshore is a good earner but we allow employers to get us cheap and the only way to combat this is a standrdised industry, to an extent we have that, with most working to the same (??) procedures, H&S etc but wages, travel, accom etc is at the behest of individual companies. Everyone tells us globalisation is here and we must come to terms with it, we will as soon as that standardisation applies to the employees as well!.
The only way to combat the divisive tactic of the employers is standardisation of conditions, and the only way to achieve this is solidarity with others, and the first step on that road is the choice to stand with others in a similar position.
If you feel that the above is a load of c*#p just have a look around you offshore, lokk at tiffies, chemists, divers. How did they achieve theirs?". Idea Idea Idea

I've just read this back and I think I'm turning into my father!!, time to put the soapbox into retirement (maybe not just yet though!). Wink
Better looking at it than looking for it!
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I have hated being in unions since my experience of them in the 1970s and 1960s was less than happy, they wanted our money but did nothing for us when we needed it ,instead they cosied up with the bosses on fat salaries.


BUT that was then so now being in ROV I am reconsidering my position , we need a strong unified organisation to take on the companies , In this industry we are not getting a fair deal. Only the Norweigans seem on a strong footing , and why is that?

LDJ
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liddelljohn wrote:
............. Only the Norweigans seem on a strong footing , and why is that?

LDJ


Not overly hard to work out, even for the slowest among us.
James Mc
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Colleagues,

I've been in touch with Terje Nustad, leder of SAFE, one of the two leading offshore unions. He's promised to put us in touch with ROVers organised in the SAFE klubb (or klubbs? - which is not really the plural of klubb). He says the agreement the ROVers have is good.

One of the major achievements of the Norwegian unions is that they've slowed the oil industry to a safe(er) pace. But if you're used to the hectic speed (or it was when I last worked there) of the UK sector it may at first be frustrating. Have patience. We'll circulate the Norwegian ROV agreement and let you guys see what the employers are prepared to concede when confronted by an organised workforce.

I'm on holiday with the family for the next 10 days or so. I'll be circulating the holiday pics and there'll be a short question and answer session at the branch meeting, just to see who's been keeping up.

All (but only) RMT members are welcome to the meeting (OILC or any other branch member). It's on the 28th Aug in Cafe Dag', 25 Crown St, Aberdeen (doors open 12 noon for a 12:30 start). We'll be saying goodbye to Lorna Robertson who's retiring after 20 years in the OILC office. Says she started when she was eleven.

I look forward to seeing anyone who can manage.

We are aware that shifts and geography work against us. That's why our asst Branch Secretary Aidan Karley is working on the idea of a "virtual" branch. I know he'd be more than willing to collaborate with any of you guys who have ideas or expertise that might help. I can put you in touch with him.

We're also inspired by this forum and he's also trying to get together a forum that will allow the wider OILC Branch membership a focus for discussion. I know at least a couple of you could be of great assistance here. Aidan is very busy when he's offshore, so if I put you in contact with him, be patient.

Fraternally

neil
OILC Branch Secretary

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