'The North Sea will never be the same again'

Submitted by Janine on 23 August, 1990 - 10:53

Socialist Organiser spoke to Laughlin and Bob who spent two weeks sitting in on the Brent Alpha platform following the first 24-hour strike.

Bob: The sit-in started because we were originally locked out and told to go home, which we refused to do. We wanted to go back to work. Because management wouldn't let us go back to work we decided to sit in.

'We are the organised rank and file'

Submitted by Janine on 23 August, 1990 - 9:31 Author: Ronnie McDonald of the Oil Industry Liaison Committee

Ronnie McDonald of the Oil Industry Liaison Committee describes the state of the action in the North Sea.

Planning has been key to these strikes. Obviously the very nature of the business is that the men are isolated out there on plaforms; then they come ashore, and scatter to the four winds.

So that's the problem we had to tackle and we did that by regular mass meetings throughout the country with a growing schedule over the winter: Glasgow, Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Aberdeen, Dundee, occasionally in Liverpool. But the meetings have been the key.

Oil rig workers pile on the pressure

Submitted by Janine on 16 August, 1990 - 4:27 Author: Ray Ferris

"We got the result today, fact!" announced Ronnie McDonald of the Offshore Industry Liaison Commitee after the fourth successive strike in 11 days.

74 offshore installations were affected, bringing in new strikers and those downmanned from previous stoppages.

The determination to fight has spread to onshore workers. 50 walked out at MOD Coulport on Monday, 200 at Browns Engineering on Tuesday. Over the weekend workers at two rigbuilding yards, Davey and Ardersier and St Fergus gas terminal came out spontaneously in solidarity.

Oil bosses strike unionism

Submitted by Janine on 31 May, 1990 - 2:32

Over the last year one of the most important organising drivers in the history of the British trade union movement has been taking place.

A rank and file body, the Oil Industry Liaison Committee, has been fighting a long guerilla war to unionise the North Sea oil rigs and win decent health and safety provision.

A series of strikes last summer won some gains on pay and helped build organisation. This year rig workers plan to really hammer the bosses.

Oil: a fight for recognition

Submitted by Janine on 20 July, 1989 - 2:14

A wave of unofficial strikes have been sweeping oil platforms in the North Sea over the last two months.

The dispute over safety, pay and conditions is fast turning into a battle for union recognition throughout the industry.

The strikes are organised by an unofficial rank and file body - the Oil Industry Liaison Committee, or OIL, but they have the tacit support of local union leaders.

North Sea strike on 6 July

Submitted by Janine on 29 June, 1989 - 2:08

North Sea oil construction workers staged 24-hour strikes on 14 platforms on Monday 19 June.

A strike across the whole North Sea oilfield has been called for 6 July - the anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster which killed 167 people.

There has been a series of unofficial strikes and work to rules in the past three weeks. Acion is organised similarly to the London Tube strikes, by semi-clandestine rank and file 'liaison committees', with the tacit support of union officials.

Hell In The North Sea

Submitted by Janine on 29 September, 1988 - 1:19 Author: Ray Ferris

The gas explosion shook the 'Ocean Odyssey', killing a man in his 20s and setting the water ablaze, just as attempts were being made to exhume bodies from the Piper Alpha platform lying at the bottom of the sea. The coincidence could not have been sharper. It was the third gas explosion in the North Sea in less than 3 months.

The only reason more people weren't killed last Thursday was becuase the rig was already on alert. All non-essential personnel had prepared to evacuate an hour beforehand and 66 escaped alive.