Unite is to ballot offshore workers on possible strike action in the North Sea after talks with Wood Group over pay and conditions broke down.
The union said the energy services giant was proposing pay cuts of up to 22% a figure it said rose to 30% for some once other allowances were taken into account.
Unite said it would ballot hundreds of workers on eight Shell North Sea oil and gas platforms over potential strike action.
The move comes during a difficult period for the oil industry following a sustained drop in the price of crude.
Unite said the dispute had been raised under the Offshore Contractors’ Association agreement after stewards formally rejected new proposals put forward to them by Wood Group management.
John Boland Unite regional officer said: “Nobody here wants to take industrial action but Wood Group is being unreasonable – pay cuts of up to 30 per cent are totally unjustified and we won’t stand for it.
“Our members have already given a lot of ground because we understand that with a low oil price the companies had to make changes to maintain profitability.
“For the benefit of the North Sea as a whole we must not to roll over again. This is our only opportunity to stay strong and say no, not just for us but for the whole of the North Sea.
“We have done our best to find a negotiated way forward through discussion. We well understand the pressures the sector is under, but workers are being stretched beyond the limit in what is one of the most dangerous working environments on the planet.”
A spokesperson for Wood Group said securing a long-term future for staff was the company’s priority.
“The terms and conditions under review have been approved by the OCA and the recognised unions,” the spokesperson said.
“During the consultation process we have attempted to reach an agreement with our employees by offering an enhancement to these terms and conditions, aligned with their competency and experience.
“We are extremely disappointed to be in this position during the consultation process.
“We remain fully committed to continuing to engage with our employees and the unions and are focused on reaching a positive resolution, which meets our mutual goal of sustaining these jobs in the North Sea, now and in the future.”