The UK’s National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) has claimed that up to 300 seafarer jobs are at risk due to the merger of US-based offshore services providers Tidewater and GulfMark Offshore.
Last week, Tidewater, which owns and operates a fleet of offshore support vessels, completed its acquisition of GulfMark Offshore in a move to establish a $1.25bn global offshore supply vessel (OSV) company.
RMT has demanded the UK government to intervene on the grounds that hundreds of Scottish and UK seafarer Ratings’ jobs are at risk following the merger. The British trade union claimed that the jobs are on the line citing that Tidewater has declined to talk with it about the future of the UK registered fleet of the GulfMark Offshore.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash demanded that Tidewater should meet the union in Aberdeen for immediate talks about its members’ jobs on the fleet of offshore supply vessels acquired as part of the acquisition of GulfMark Offshore.
The union’s generally secretary said that the UK Shipping Minister Nusrat Ghani is expected to intervene if needed to save seafarers’ jobs in the North Sea.
Cash said: “Predatory companies seeking to slash terms and conditions and discriminate against foreign seafarers by paying well below the National Minimum Wage must be driven out of the shipping industry.
“As we head for the EU exit, non-EU companies in the North Sea need a strong reminder from trade unions and the Government of the need to protect British seafarers’ jobs and trade union rights in the OSV sector.”
RMT also alleged that as both the companies have been officially silent on the potential job losses, it has not been confirmed whether TUPE will be applicable to existing collective bargaining agreements with UK unions.
The British trade union claims that more than a thousand UK seafarers, primarily Ratings, have lost their jobs in the OSV industry because of the decline in oil prices from 2014.
Texas-based GulfMark Offshore, which calls itself to be the largest operator of Platform Supply Vessels in the North Sea, operates fleets across Southeast Asia and in the Americas, which includes the deepwater basins offshore Brazil and the Gulf of Mexico. The company’s fleet comprises 72 offshore vessels in various markets across the world.