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Friday, 28 July, 2000, 13:05 GMT 14:05 UK
Rig safety ballot call rejected
Helicopter
BP Amoco wants to move towards helicopters
BP Amoco has rejected a call to ballot workers on proposals to replace stand-by vessels around North Sea oil platforms with helicopters.

Unions had insisted that a vote was the only way to establish staff views.

The two sides have met for three hours in Aberdeen, during which management said they were not prepared to hold a ballot.

A spokesman said the company was committed to the fullest possible consultation with staff and the results would be fed back to the workforce.

Forties Alpha
Platforms would have fast rescue craft
The ballot plan was proposed by seven trade unions which comprise the Inter-Union Offshore Oil Committee (IUOOC).

A number of MPs, the IUOOC and the Emergency Response and Rescue Vessel Association (Errva) have come together to oppose the BP Amoco's move.

Helicopters were "complementary" to the work of rescue vessels, which must remain the hub of the service to protect lives offshore, according to the association.

BP Amoco plans to locate four dedicated emergency response helicopters offshore, each with a 10-minute response time.

Two other helicopters based onshore would have a one-hour response time. The platforms would also have fast rescue craft launched by crane.

BP Amoco operates more than 50 fixed platforms in 38 fields throughout the North Sea.

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See also:

18 Jul 00 | Scotland
Oil unions demand safety plan ballot
30 May 00 | Scotland
Fears over N. Sea rescue plans
04 Nov 99 | Scotland
North Sea injuries fall
28 Oct 99 | Scotland
Fears raised over platform safety
08 Sep 99 | Scotland
Leaks prompt 'Piper Alpha' fears
07 Sep 99 | Scotland
Action plan for UK oil industry
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