An Aberdeen MP hit out at the employment minister last night over her response to a letter highlighting the plight of workers in the oil and gas sector.
Tory frontbencher Priti Patel directed the SNP’s Kirsty Blackman to the Scottish Government when she raised the issue of workers’ rights in the face of redundancies amid the downturn.
Employment law remains reserved to Westminster, however, and the new Scotland Act does not change this.
Former city councillor Ms Blackman told the Press and Journal she was “astounded at the lack of time or effort” given to the “very serious concerns” she had outlined.
The Aberdeen North MP added: “Priti Patel either didn’t take any time to read my letter, or she doesn’t understand her brief..”
The Department for Work and Pensions confirmed another reply would be sent to Ms Blackman.
Her letter from February described the case of a constituent who was paid off. Others who had not been with the company as long were kept on, however, and Ms Blackman told Ms Patel it was just one example of companies taking the “most cost effective option” over the rights and welfare of employees. She added: “What is the government doing to ensure the rights of oil workers throughout Scotland.”
In her reply – dated last week – Ms Patel pointed to the range of rights extended over the years, but added: “Employment rights for workers in Scotland is a devolved matter for the Scottish Executive.”
The Commons library confirmed employment law is not devolved to Holyrood, although the Scotland Act will enable changes to the operation of employment tribunals in Scotland.