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Last Updated: Friday, 17 August 2007, 12:18 GMT 13:18 UK
Unions reach North Sea pay deal
Oil platform
About 10,000 offshore workers are in line for the deal
North Sea contract workers are being offered extra money and additional paid leave in return for dropping existing legal challenges about holiday pay.

The deal - reached between the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) and the Amicus and GMB unions - will affect about 10,000 offshore workers.

It would raise their annual pay from an average of 42,000 to 45,000 and allow them to gain four weeks paid holiday.

Union members - based on oil and gas platforms - will be balloted.

An OCA spokesman claimed it would help attract new workers to the industry and keep it competitive.

Deal welcomed

Bill Murray, chief executive added: "We have had some very robust and frank discussions and exchanges with our union partners on what has been a difficult issue to resolve.

"We are delighted to have reached the point where an agreement will be recommended to the offshore workforce."

Unions also welcomed the deal.

Keith Hazelwood, GMB national secretary, said: "Our members have been very patient awaiting the outcome of these difficult negotiations, but the result has been worth it and we have no problem in recommending this new working pattern and the increases to our members."

Legal challenge

Workers employed by other trade associations including drilling workers and those working in catering are not affected by the deal.

Three other unions are still complaining that an additional 7,000 offshore workers are being denied leave to which they are entitled under the European Union Working Time Directive.

Some have mounted legal challenges, due to be heard at an industrial tribunal in Aberdeen this October.

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