Oil giant Shell (NYSE: RDS.A) will switch to a less tiring rota system for its offshore workers in the British North Sea, the company said Sept. 18, as Total has faced strike action over plans to have workers spend more days offshore.

Workers at three of Total's (NYSE: TOT) offshore platforms in the British North Sea have staged strikes over the group's plans to introduce a rota that would require them to stay offshore for three weeks and onshore for three weeks.

Fewer staff changeovers can increase efficiency and save transport costs.

Shell, following a review of working conditions, will move to a two-week offshore, three-week onshore rota system from second-quarter 2019. This compares with Shell staff currently working four weeks offshore and three weeks onshore, while contractors have an equal three weeks on, three weeks off as part of a schedule introduced in late 2015 following the oil price slump.

"The aim of the review was to see how we can continue to drive offshore productivity, address a number of issues raised by our offshore workforce," a Shell spokesman said. "We consulted extensively with our offshore workforce and we believe these changes will be welcomed."

Shell has 800 offshore workers in the British North Sea. Offshore workers might face slightly less pay on the system as fewer shifts will be worked, however talks are still ongoing on this, the spokesman said.

The rota change will not be applied to staff at its Brent Alpha or Brent Bravo platforms which are in decommissioning and workers will be withdrawn next year.