Photo: Scarabeo 8 rig; Source: Saipem

Saipem to pay up for overtime work violation on rig

Italian oilfield services provider Saipem Norway will pay an agreed amount to two offshore workers in Norway due to the violation of working hours regulations in order to regularise the agreement between Saipem and the workers.

Norwegian union, Industri Energi, said on Thursday it has ensured that two ROV pilots in Saipem are compensated a total of over NOK 966,000 (about $113,300) after violating the working hours regulations over the course of two months.

“This shows how important the trade unions are”, said Industri Energi OSA inspector, Wayne Pena.

OSA Inspector Wayne Pena.
OSA Inspector Wayne Pena. Photo: Atle Espen Helgesen

Industri Energi received a notification of a breach of working time regulations on board the semi-submersible rig Scarabeo 8 last autumn.

According to the union, the two ROV pilots from Saipem Ltd had been on board the Scarabeo 8 rig for more than 8 weeks and worked uninterrupted 12 hours per day, from 28 September to 25 November.

Industri Energi reported the case to both the Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority and the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway.

Inspector Pena has previously stated that this was a gross violation of the working hours regulations and completely unacceptable.

Saipem Ltd is a subsidiary of the Saipem Group, which provides the ROV services onboard the rig Scarabeo 8.

Industri Energi has now completed negotiations with Saipem Ltd and ensured that the two ROV pilots receive compensation of NOK 483,465 (about $56,710) each.

In a statement sent to Offshore Energy, a spokesperson for Saipem emphasised that no court action ever took place – “instead there was an agreement between workers and the company, with the mediation of the union.

The spokesperson also clarified that “the payment was not a matter of compensation, but of a regularisation of payments between the parties”.

The spokesperson added: “At the outcome of the meetings held with the utmost collaboration of all the parties involved and in the full interest of the 2 workers, the 2 ROV pilots were paid on the basis of the hours carried out and in line also with the provisions of the Norwegian legislation”.

2017 case

In 2017, Saipem Ltd closed down the Norwegian branch and dismissed all its offshore employees.

The union claimed that, a few months later, the company had continued its operations on the Norwegian shelf, but only with seconded British workers from Saipem Ltd and seconded workers from GPS, which is their staffing company in Switzerland.

According to Pena, after considerable and sustained pressure from Industri Energi, they were able to get the members reinstated.

At the same time, the OSA Inspectorate had an audit at Saipem Ltd’s head office in London. There were significant deviations from the framework and activity regulations, and significant deviations from the oil service agreement, the union stated.

“This is a direct form of social dumping”, Pena said.

However, Saipem has strongly rejected any allegations of social dumping.

The article has been amended to include a statement by Saipem, providing further clarification on the agreement between the parties.