As many as seven of Royal Dutch Shell's North Sea platforms could be hit by the first strike action in the basin in 10 years after Wood Group employees working on the facilities voted on Wednesday in favour of industrial action.
Wood Group workers are employed on Shell platforms to carry out maintenance work. A person familiar with the operations said this meant production from the platforms was unlikely to be affected by potential strikes in the short term.
Nearly all Wood Group workers who participated in the ballot carried out by labour unions Unite and RMT supported strike action over disputes surrounding pay and working conditions, the unions said.
Weak oil prices are expected to cost around 120,000 oil workers in Britain their job by the end of the year, according to industry group Oil and Gas UK, and many have had to accept pay cuts.
Wood Group announced in February a 9-percent cut in wages of around 200 British contractors, following pay reductions in December 2015 and May 2014.
The unions said they would now consider how to proceed and were open to further talks. Shell said its platforms concerned were Brent Alpha, Bravo and Charlie, Gannet, Nelson, Curlew and Shearwater.
"We are committed to continuing to engage openly with our employees and the unions with a view to reaching a positive resolution," said Dave Stewart, chief executive for Wood Group's eastern region business unit.
He added that workers affected by pay cuts would see their salary drop by 3 percent rather than 30 percent as suggested by the unions.
(Reporting by Karolin Schaps; editing by Adrian Croft and William Hardy)