Offshore Industry: Agency Workers

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 24th June 2019.

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Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Labour, Stockton North

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that the employment of agency workers on drilling rigs in the offshore drilling industry is compliant with the provisions of the Agency Workers Regulations 2010.

Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Labour, Stockton North

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of changes in employment practices of major drilling contractors in the offshore oil and gas industry since 2015.

Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

Workers within the offshore oil and gas industry in internal or territorial waters, or working regarding exploitation of the continental shelf, are entitled to the same protections as UK workers. This includes receiving the National Minimum Wage for all their work on installation, construction and maintenance, regardless of nationality or where they ordinarily work. As with all other workers, their terms and conditions of employment are for negotiation and agreement between employers and employees (or their representatives). Once agreed they form a legally binding contract of employment. While it is always open to either party to seek to renegotiate the terms of the contract, if the employer changes any of the terms without the employee’s agreement, the employee may be entitled to seek legal redress.

Agency workers’ rights conferred by the Agency Worker Regulations 2010 are self-enforced at an Employment Tribunal. The enforcement body for the recruitment sector, the Employment Agency Standards inspectorate (EAS), investigates every relevant complaint that falls under its remit as set out in the Employment Agencies Act 1973 and has a strong track record in upholding the rights of agency workers.

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