Offshore crew members at a Scottish wind farm have been made redundant in favor of using foreign labour.
Letters seen by Energy Voice confirm that Solstad Offshore, an energy supply company, has laid off the 36 workers it hired through the ERSG agency to work on the Normand Navigator in favor of a workforce- cheaper foreign work.
The crew of 36 was to man the key Norwegian-registered supply vessel, the Normand Navigator, working on the Neart Na Gaoithe offshore wind project in the Firth of Forth off Fife.
The alternative crew would be “largely Filipino” and will work for “significantly lower rates of pay”, according to RMT union regional organizer Jake Molloy.
Solstad and ERSG were asked to comment on the case, first reported by the Herald.
It is understood that the move follows a visa extension for migrant offshore wind workers.
In 2017, the then Home Secretary granted a concession to immigration rules, allowing the employment of foreign nationals who join vessels engaged in the construction and maintenance of offshore wind projects in territorial waters. British.
The concession will expire at the end of April next year.
This kind of action cannot be tolerated!
Mr Molloy told Energy Voice: ‘I understand the company claiming they pay minimum wage, but we have experience of contractors paying well below that rate and as low as £3.60 from time.
“But aside, the fact that they’re ferrying workers halfway around the world is a direct contradiction to UK and Scottish government commitments to a ‘just transition’ creating thousands of good, well-paying jobs. in a green recovery!
“It demonstrates that we are millions of miles away from that, and that in fact the exploitation of low-wage workers to increase already huge profits is the order of the day!
“And at a time when we consumers see our energy bills continue to climb, this kind of action cannot be tolerated!”
Father-of-three left out in the cold as Christmas approaches
A dismissed worker contacted RMT about this “tragic situation”.
He has lived in Scotland with his family for 17 years and worked as an offshore steward for over nine years.
This contractor signed a “12 month contract with the ERSG and decided to work on the Solstad Offshore, ‘Normand Navigator'”.
“Several times” he checked with an ESRG representative if the work would last for the planned 12 months and he “received assurances that it would be a long project”.
For this reason, the contractor in question refused further work in favor of job security, he wrote: “I am a father of three children and I cannot afford to be unstable, especially during the holiday season.”
The father-of-three told RMT: ‘The first slight doubt that came to mind from the ERSG was that I had to sign a contract that said I had to pay to transfer my money earned £60 for each transfer .
“I have also been informed that I have to sign another contract with Payworx and that I will be paid in the UMBRELLA system. There was no mention of this before.
“No one has explained to me or my colleagues (there are several of us) what this system consists of.
“We are advised that this is required by the UK Government and there is no other option.
“We stayed, I was manipulated into being employed by the umbrella company and there is no other option.
“I didn’t know I would have to pay the employer’s NIN and TAX!”
Despite his reservations, the entrepreneur continued.
“The day before boarding the ship we were accommodated in a hotel in Newcastle, two strangers in one room, which was very uncomfortable and unprofessional,” the father wrote.
When asked about the living situation, the entrepreneur was told by an ESRG official “it was easier for them to organize it that way”.
He added: “No one asked anyone for their opinion on this.”
As well as a lack of transparency in how contractors would be paid and “uncomfortable” accommodation, the father-of-three also faced problems receiving his salary.
“Throughout the contract period, no one has given us clear information about how many additional taxes and fees will be charged to us,” the contractor said.
“ERSG and Payworx employees avoided this topic like the plague.
“Throughout the contract, despite the ERSG’s avoidance of answering uncomfortable questions, we worked to complete our tasks.
“We were convinced that we had jobs for the next 12 months.
“One day, after 2 weeks of work, there was information from the previous team that there were problems with paying the money on time.
“Some of my colleagues checked whether we really had to be paid under the umbrella scheme and there were also reports that this was not true. The company denied it.”