Shetland helicopter crash: RMT calls for action

RMT General secretary Bob Crow at the protest. Picture: NEwsline Scotland
RMT General secretary Bob Crow at the protest. Picture: NEwsline Scotland
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LESSONS must be learned in the offshore oil and gas industry in light of the latest fatal helicopter crash, a union has said.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) called for safety improvements as it staged a rally in Aberdeen five days after a Super Puma helicopter came down in the water off Shetland.

The crash, which claimed the lives of three men and one woman on Friday, was the fifth incident involving Super Pumas in the North Sea since 2009.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow attended the rally outside the union’s Crown Street office.

“One thing’s for sure, our members shouldn’t pay the ultimate price of losing their life as a result of going to work,” he said.

He said that while the investigation was still ongoing there was no way of knowing what caused the crash.

He said: “We’ve got to make sure we learn from those investigations. We don’t believe some people learned [from] what happened in 2009 and we don’t want what happened in 2013 to drift away as well.”

The RMT had planned to protest near the heliport of CHC, the operator of the Super Puma which crashed last week. But the protest at Aberdeen Airport was called off in favour of a city-centre rally after the union said Oil and Gas UK had met its demand for guaranteed access to workers on platforms. Mr Crow said he was assured by the Oil and Gas UK chairman that as soon as there was an opportunity, RMT officials would be allowed access, after years of being “denied”.

Speaking before the rally, he said: “Twenty-five years after Piper Alpha we should not be debating the right of a trade union official speaking to their members, or for a worker to stand up and say, ‘I believe something is unsafe’ and get victimised for it.

“That’s something that should be completely eradicated. People are frightened.”