Good Industrial Relations in the Oil Industry in the United Kingdom

Working paper 203

This working paper explores examples of industrial relations in the petroleum industry in the United Kingdom, which has a legacy of employer hostility toward trade unions, particularly offshore. This paper points to research which suggests that partnership agreements conducted in the offshore sector are unlikely to deliver genuine benefits to workers. The paper calls for the United Kingdom to enforce the right to strike and freedom of association in the oil sector. A compulsory role for trade unions in the management of occupational health and safety in the sector is needed. This paper argues that employers should also be compelled to consult with unions over restructuring. The paper also argues that, like many other industrial and service sectors in the European Union, workers in the oil sector in the United Kingdom should also be covered by all the provisions of the European Union Working Time Directive, and be entitled to paid leave in addition to periods of “field breaks” between shifts.