August 24, 2006 06:35 ET

Amicus Welcomes Government's Commitment to Paid Time Off for Offshore Workers

LONDON, ENGLAND--(CCNMatthews - Aug. 24, 2006) - Amicus, the largest offshore union, today welcomed the commitment from the Employment Relations Minister, Jim Fitzpatrick, to clarify the legislation to allow offshore workers their full paid holiday entitlement.

The move follows a long running campaign by Amicus for the UK's 20,000 offshore workers to have the European Working Time Directive applied to them. Rich oil companies argue that the UK offshore industry were not entitled to four weeks paid annual leave, as are all other UK workers, because their places of work lies beyond the UK geographical boundaries. This is despite the fact that offshore workers elsewhere in Europe are covered by the Directive.

The government has pledged to change the regulations so UK offshore workers are no longer exempt. It is hoped that the change will be made as early as October 2006.

Amicus is also progressing an employment tribunal case on behalf of its' offshore members to argue for backpay for their paid leave entitlement.

Amicus' National Officer for the offshore industry, Alan Harvey, said: "We welcome this latest commitment from the Employment Relations Minister but regret that it has taken over three years to get it. This will finally put an end to the disgraceful behaviour of offshore employers who have denied our members their basic right to paid annual leave."

Graham Tran, Amicus Regional Officer, said: "This is an important victory for offshore workers. No longer will employers be allowed to hide behind the argument of legislation not applying beyond territorial waters. Further, this will allow us to take forward the substantive issues affecting offshore workers leave entitlement, including how paid leave should be taken and what constitutes working time, for example, travel to and from installations.

"Having said this, we remain aggrieved that the mega rich oil companies are prepared to spend part of their excessive profits in denying workers their fundamental right to paid leave."

The Employment Appeal Tribunal, for the cases already lodged, will take place in Edinburgh on 3-5 October 2006.


Contact Information

  • Amicus
    Graham Tran
    Regional Officer
    07958 511 569
    Catherine Bithell
    Press Office
    07958 473 224