RMT demands First Minister’s intervention as call for public enquiry on helicopter safety accelerates

Transport and offshore union RMT has today, 27th December 2013,  issued a fresh call for First Minister Alex Salmond to take immediate and decisive action to establish a public inquiry into helicopter safety and a series of wider, associated issues relating to safety in the North Sea offshore industry.

RMT has written to the First Minister and is awaiting a response to the call for a public inquiry, a call that is rapidly gathering public and political support.

RMT has made it clear in the letter that it is deeply concerned that the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill, has appeared to claim in recent comments that a public inquiry would be too expensive.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow says: ‘In light of recent events, including the helicopter tragedies both offshore and onshore and the grounding of helicopters in many areas of the country, the case for a full public inquiry dealing with helicopter safety and the associated safety issues in the North Sea field, is overwhelming.

‘Cost should not be a barrier to establishing the full facts and assisting us in developing a safety regime that takes us forward in an atmosphere of trust and co-operation where the safety of both the workforce and members of the public is absolutely paramount.

‘RMT would urge First Minister Alex Salmond to take account of all of the issues raised by RMT in our letter to him and to pledge his full support for the public inquiry call. He has the power to make this happen. He should use it.’

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19 Responses to RMT demands First Minister’s intervention as call for public enquiry on helicopter safety accelerates

  1. Air safety and regulation is a retained power at Westminster.

    Basic research would have told you that. RMT also knows that but like UNITE are to closely linked with Labour.

    However a fatal accident inquiry is at the behest of the Procurator Fiscal and I would imagine such an inquiry will take place in Scotland re recent sad events.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

    • Air safety and regulation are indeed retained powers – but we are unaware of any proscription on Scotland holding a public inquiry of the kind requested. The Justice Secretary did not cite any legal impediment to holding a public inquiry, just a cost one.
      The number of helicopter transfers required for the oil and gas industry on the North Sea is high and Scotland has a legitimate interest in this matter, after the recent series of downings., including the tragedy at the Clutha Vaults.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 11

      • It’s a much ore complex matter than that.
        The bald fact is that the UK would be poorer if the south east of England were not the engine of the UK economy.
        Weakening that economy is in no ones interests.
        The need – and the deficit – is in the necessary calibre of economic development strategy on the one hand and on the other the will to invest with judiciously assessed risk rather than investing only in sure fire bonanza returns – as with public sector contracts.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 14

        • If the south-east of england is the engine of the UK economy (a very debatable point in itself), what does that do for us? We have our own economy and interests, we don’t want to be beholden to S.E.E. for our bread and they certainly do not look after our interests. And in any case we are currently putting at least as much cash in as we get out of the UK, so why do we need your S.E.E. driver?
          Additionally, even if your economic point was true, that is not the only reason for Independence. When Norway gained independence from Sweden in 1905 they were initially worse off, but with control over their own economy they consistently increased national income, and got their self-respect back too. All that without the help of the south east of england!

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

      • NEWSIE,

        On a very human note. How many enquiries, possible court hearing do you wish the injured and bereaved to go through before they can get some sort of peace.
        The air investigation method being undertaken is the best and quickest route to preventing a recurrence as it involves the manufacturers suppliers and governments to collectively arrive at a proper course of action.
        I am afraid the RMT option will delay and confuse matters.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

        • Copycat, the AAIB investigation is not the ‘best and quickest’ route for anything other than find the most likely cause and make recommendations.

          Note – recommendations .

          They have no powers to enforce anyone to act. They cannot pursue criminal proceedings if any party has been found negligent.

          I would cite the Grayrigg rail crash – would it be enough for you to know that it was caused by points failure and that be the end of it? Or would have have wanted to find out why thy failed. Maybe for you copycat, it would be enough just to put the blame on the person who didn’t inspect the points, and end it there.

          As it happens, thankfully the investigation and prosecution for Grayrigg did enough work to get the the root of the issue, which was affecting more than just the Greyrigg points, a fundamental shambles of an inspection system by Network Rail.

          To try and use the ‘human’ note as some sort of justification seems to me, completely misguided. Families want to know why, and in my experience, want to know that it cannot occur again if at all possible. These families are the bereaved and also everyone other family who has a loved one travelling in a helicopter, train or plane.

          I have friends planning their exit from the oil industry such is their concern over safety on north Sea helicopters, and frankly, I don’t blame them

          I wonder if someone has the number o crashes per flight for commercial helicopters in Scotland, andf the number of crashes per flight for all fixed wing commercial aircraft. I think it would be frightening….

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

          • The main issue after an accident is to prevent a recurrence.
            The Air investigation route is the way as explained above.
            Different aircraft in use.
            JB I am aware of grayling , piper alpha,etc. The air investigation team will undertake a thorough investigation. All the other enquiries etc will cloud the issue and prolong the agony.
            I think using the human note as you put it is correct and is not misguided. What is misguided is the idea that multi inquiries helps. Do you suggest the air investigation teams stop until the other inquiries go through the motions?
            As for your friends leaving the oil industry as a result – that is for them to decide. No other considerations?
            By the way a FAI – the Sheriff makes a determinations which is not enforceable by law- the Access
            Inv Branch has the large stick that the airworthiness certificate can be withdrawn if action is not appropriate.
            Of course after Independence maybe things will change but as stated above air safety as is general health and safety is a retained power at Westminster with one exception. Northern Ireland has its own Health and safety laws – explain that one!

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

          • We probably wish the same thing, but come at it from different angles. As I sy, the AAIB has no power to enforce anything, if another organisation decides to take action, that is all well and good, but it’s not down to a set or defined process to ensure that the appropriate actions are taken, it’s down to change, good fortune – politics, economics and egos all play a part in what is done following a tragedy like Clutha.

            The purpose of the AAIB is:

            To improve aviation safety by determining the causes of air accidents and serious incidents and making safety recommendations intended to prevent recurrence …It is not to apportion blame or liability.

            Keith Conradi, Chief Inspector

            According to you Copycat, the determinations from an FAI cannot be enforced by law. A criminal trial has a completely different outcome that again, cannot enforce change, but instead punish those determined to be responsible.

            It’s a screwed up system and whilst I can agree that ideally, one organisation should be responsible with legal powers, that is not the case today, and is unlikely to be.

            I would offer the following link to a bill that failed to pass through the Commons lodged by the late David Cairns MP. That such a bill should have failed is beyond comprehension.


            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  2. “If the south-east of england is the engine of the UK economy (a very debatable point in itself), what does that do for us?”

    I can’t believe that I’ve just read this – What short memories people have! How long ago was it that the Chancellor had to rescue a major Scottish bank after Alex Salmond had consistently bleated on for more financial deregulation?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 15

  3. Us ?!
    You are from angleterre?
    Most of the debt sat at the financial mile and duplicity between the bankers and the financial institutions in the City of London—– just in case you forgot Westminster was and is in charge. On their watch as was the Coop, Lloyd’s, HSBC etc

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

  4. The SEE is not the driver of the UK economy. Its debts are. As a region of the UK it gets more public subsidy per head of population than any other. Just as Jeremy Paxman.

    It is the money laundering capital of the world; some legitimate, much not but HMRC etc unwilling and incapable of bring it to book. Most of the so called wealth is emperor ‘s new clothes stuff!

    Angela M knows and is waiting patiently for Frankfurt to kick the Square Mile into touch.
    There are already informal inks with Scottish government

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

    • The SEE has driven the UK economy into the ditch. Any goods that we import or export in Scotland costs us about $100 per container more than if we had our own International port, so that it can be fed through the UK’s alleged engine. That’s before the added cost of getting it between here and SEE.
      For years we have airports set up to force us through SEE so that they get four extra taxes out of our every overseas journey on top of the normal two taxes that they pay. We pay six and they pay two.
      The only driving SSE does for Scotland is to destruction.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  5. Is it not the case that most of the independent councillors in Argyllshire are de-facto Tory businessmen and women in it for themselves. Tagging themselves as independents allows them to jump into bed at anytime and with anyone as long as the responsibility payments are there? Helps out during licensing, planning issues as well

    Am I too cynical?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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