Non-hiring of oil workers “misguided”

Thousands of workers have lost their jobs following the industry downturn
Thousands of workers have lost their jobs following the industry downturn

A reluctance by employers to hire former North Sea oil and gas workers has been described as “misguided” by a UK minister.

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin had raised concerns of discrimination after being inundated with complaints by job-hunting constituents.

They claimed companies would not recruit them amid fears they would quit if the oil price recovered.

Ms Martin, a member of Holyrood’s oil and gas cross-party committee, wrote to the UK Government over the issue.

More than 120,000 people across the UK have been made redundant since the oil price slump in 2014.

UK Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility Margot James said representatives from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) had spoken to local JobCentre Plus officials.

In a reply, she stated: “Local JobCentre Plus officials have confirmed that they have also come across some examples of this practice during the current low-oil price downturn, but consider them to be isolated instances and not the widespread practice of employers in the region.

“I believe the reluctance by employers to consider this highly-skilled and motivated workforce to be misguided because I know that their skillsets are respected both across the UK and around the world.”

According to the letter, current legislation does not deal with issues relating to allegations of discrimination.

Ms Martin said: “I am dismayed by the suggestion there are a few isolated cases where workers have been affected.

“Even now I am still being informed by constituents of cases where they have been turned away for positions because of the sector they have worked in, or told at interviews they will simply leave a prospective job as soon as the industry picks up again.

“There does not seem to be the sufficient legislation in place to protect workers – across all sectors – from potential discrimination.”

She added: “I would urge workers to look to the Transition Training Fund which can help workers looking to retrain or enhance their skills as they look for other employment.

“The Energy Jobs Taskforce also holds regular PACE events where workers can meet with potential employers.”

Ms Martin says she intends to write again to the UK Government with further examples.