Offshore workers pay row

UNIONS say they are planning to ask the Government to investigate claims workers on a rig berthed off Hartlepool have not been paid.

A joint week of action by trade unions and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has looked into claims Romanian workers have not been paid since last October.

A statement issued by the GMB union, on behalf of the ITF, says they are looking into the pay of 48 people working on board the offshore rig GSP Britannia, currently berthed near Able UK’s Seaton Dock, in Hartlepool.

They are looking into workers contracted by Romanian company Grup Servicii Petroliere (GSP), which is a member of the Upetrom Group.

Norrie McVicar, chairman of the ITF Offshore Task Force Group, claims the workers have not been paid since October.

He also claimed that the money they are entitled to works out at less than half of the UK minimum wage – only around £3.50 per hour for a 12 hour day, seven days per week.

It is also alleged the crew have no contracts of employment.

The ITF’s Offshore Task Force Group has announced it plans to alert the Government’s Low Pay Unit and the UK Health and Safety Executive and ask them to look into the issue.

No-one from the firm was available for comment despite attempts by the Mail.

It is believed the wages of the one British captain and two Croatian engineers have been paid.

A spokesman for Able UK said: “This is clearly a matter between the owners of the Britannia rig and the International Transport Workers’ Federation.

“The rig which has been berthed at the Able Seaton Port facility since late 2009 was acquired by GSP in September last year.

“It is understood that work is being carried out in preparation for its return to active operations.”