The Oil & Gas UK has welcomed the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s (EAT) confirmation that the time off work enjoyed by UK offshore oil and gas workers, typically over 26 weeks in a year, more than meets the minimum legal amount of annual leave that employers must provide their employees.
Oil & Gas UK’s chief executive, Malcolm Webb, said: “We welcome the decision by the Employment Appeal Tribunal which at last establishes a binding interpretation of the law on this issue and in the way we have always maintained it should be interpreted.
“However, we have no sense of triumph today. This legal process has consumed a very great deal of effort and has cost our members well over a million pounds in legal fees and expenses. The Unions have also spent considerable time and money and no doubt also incurred substantial legal costs. All this cost and uncertainty could have been avoided if the Government had done what we repeatedly asked it to do at the outset, namely to issue UK regulations on this matter which were sensible, clear and unambiguous.
“Now that we have established what the true underlying legal position is on this matter, we and our colleagues in the Unions can turn our full attention to more important matters and get on with tackling the very substantial challenges to jobs and investment in the UK offshore industry which we now face in these uncertain economic times. In that regard, we will be looking to this year’s budget with the keenest of interest. The Government must act now to assist small exploration and development companies by releasing accrued exploration reliefs to them to be spent on North Sea operations and also act to take the brake off investment in our industry, which the current fiscal regime is now imposing, by eliminating supplementary corporation tax on new development projects.”