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Aberdeen Press & Journal: SHELL BOSS DESCRIBES CLAIMS AS ‘LUDICROUS’

08:50 – 07 September 2007
thisisnorthscotland.co.uk/

A Shell boss in Aberdeen said it was “ludicrous” to think that the company was not interested in safety.

John Gallagher, vice-president technical for exploration and production in Europe, denied the allegations. “Safety-critical positions are covered on these installations,” he said.

Meanwhile, it has emerged 11 offshore staff representatives out of 28 walked out of a regular meeting in Aberdeen yesterday. Mr Gallagher said they were unhappy with the terms and conditions being offered to employees to transfer to a new owner.

It is understood workers on the installations are to use Shell’s internal grievance procedure about limited employment options being offered by the company. Previously, staff in similar situations have had a variety of options, including voluntary severance, but in this case Shell is only offering the option of transferring to the new owner plus what it describes as a generous transition payment.

Graham Tran, of the Unite union’s Amicus section, said there would be hundreds of individual grievance cases.

Mr Tran added: “It is now a matter of urgency for the HSE to investigate the concerns from a very demoralised workforce.”

Around 200 people are employed by Shell on the Cormorant Alpha, North Cormorant, Dunlin Alpha, Tern and Eider installations. These are among assets in line to be sold over the next 18 months.

Mr Tran said last night there had been several incidents on board the North Cormorant platform in recent days when employees were called to muster stations.

A spokeswoman for Shell confirmed there had been five general platform alarms over the last three days but they had turned out to be false alerts.

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