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Offshore pay gains

North Sea oil rig, still an important source of Britain’s energy. Photo Gary Bembridge via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0).

Over 700 offshore oil and gas workers at Bilfinger UK, members of Unite the union, have accepted a “vastly improved” wage offer. This brings a pay dispute between the workers and the company to an end.

Unite’s Bilfinger members accepted a further 6 per cent increase on basic pay in addition to a 4 per cent rise in January 2023. Bilfinger had initially refused to increase pay above the base rate set in the Energy Services Agreement (ESA) for 2022, which was set at 4 per cent.


The Bilfinger offshore contractors were scheduled to participate in two recent rounds of strike action – from 1 to 3 June and then from 8 to 10 June. This action was suspended to allow a vote on the improved wage offer.

Unite official Shauna Wright said that this was a good deal for the Bilfinger workers and is the highest annual pay increase ever at the company – a 10 per cent pay increase this year. And since last November the basic hourly pay for some Unite members has risen by up to 19 per cent.

“The result is due to the resolve and strength of our members.”

Wright added, “It’s a great result which has only come about due to the resolve and strength of our members.”

When asked to comment on Unite’s latest statement, a Bilfinger spokesperson told industry website Rigzone, “we're pleased to have worked with Unite to bring forward an offer that our colleagues and clients agreed best supports our workers, and their families.”


The German-based multinational engineering company also said that, “This deal enables our employees and our organization, as co-signatories of the Energy Services Agreement, to work together to ensure a secure and sustainable oil and gas industry and energy sector for the future.”

Around 1,650 offshore oil and gas contractors across many different trades planned two rounds of 48 hour strikes in June following strikes in the two previous months affecting producers in the North Sea fields.

Besides those working for Bilfinger, this involved Stork Technical Services, and Sparrows Offshore Services. According to Unite this was the largest such action in the offshore industry.