An offshore union has called for better protection for workers on the 30th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster.

The RMT said oil and gas employees have been under pressure since a downturn in the North Sea industry, and government and regulators must do more for their safety.

Mick Cash, general secretary, said: “Respecting the memory of the Piper Alpha victims should mean adopting the highest possible standards that put safety before profit.

“Regrettably, the business model that has developed in the North Sea, especially since the 2014 downturn, is putting unwelcome pressure on our members.

“Three weeks on and three weeks off shift pattern, a crisis of confidence in the safety of helicopter transport, ineffective regulations and the prospect of North Sea assets repeatedly changing hands before decommissioning by low-paid foreign staff is the industrial reality for today’s offshore workers.

“Employers, government, regulators must do more for the safety of offshore workers. The consequences of complacency are unthinkable.”