UK Government responds to oil worker discrimination claims

The houses of parliament, London
The houses of parliament, London

The UK Government has responded to claims that ex-oil and gas workers are being turned down for jobs outwith the industry.

Concerns were raised by MSP Gillian Martin after several jobseeking constituents said they were rejected from advertised posts specifically because of their ties to the North Sea.

Some employers are said to have expressed fears that the prospective employees would return to their former profession if oil prices increased to pre-2014 downturn levels.

Ms Martin, who represents Aberdeenshire East, wrote a letter to Minister of State for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) Damian Hinds to raise concerns about the legality of this practice.

However, the DWP referred Energy Voice to the  Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which was created last year under Theresa May’s premiership.

A BEIS spokesman said: “The UK government is rightly proud of the oil and gas workers who have been on the frontline of an industry facing unprecedented challenges.

“Where jobs have been lost in the sector, we’re determined to hold on to that talent.

“That’s why we published the Oil & Gas workforce plan and expanded the Talent Retention website to give workers greater access to new opportunities in more than 1,000 engineering and manufacturing companies.

“Businesses should be in no doubt that the oil and gas industry in Scotland has one of the most highly skilled workforces in the world.”

The government spokesman also confirmed receipt of Ms Martin’s letter and said a response would be issued “in due course”.

Over the last two years the UK Government claims to have delivered a package of measures worth £2.3billion to encourage investment in the oil and gas sector and support jobs

The Oil and Gas Workforce Plan was published last summer to redeploy skilled workers to other infrastructure projects and with professions with transferable skills.

Ms Martin has been contacted for further comment.