Industri Energi and NR react strongly to stricter quarantine regulations

Frode Alfheim, union leader i Industri Energi.
Frode Alfheim, union leader i Industri Energi.

onsdag 12. mai 2021

Industri Energi and the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association (NR) react strongly to the weekend’s tightened changes to the quarantine regulations – There is a great need for immediate adjustments for the rig workers, states the union leader Frode Alfheim and CEO Harald Solberg of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association states in a joint letter to the Minister of Health, Mr Bent Høie.

Industri Energi and the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association receive very strong reactions from members to this weekend’s changes in regulations that require rig workers who have stayed outside the EEA / Schengen to implement the quarantine at a public quarantine hotel.

The change in regulation particularly affects British offshore workers working on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. During the last year alone, many employees were quarantined for more than 100 days in total.

-This affects a group of employees who have already been subject to strict quarantine regulations for a long time, and where the health wear and tear along with social strain is already very heavy, Alfheim and Solberg state in the letter.

They point out that all rig workers fulfill strictly necessary functions on board the facilities to meet strict safety requirements and to be able to carry out work that is important to society.

Unpredictable changes in regulations

Among our members, there is already a great deal of frustration over repeated unclear and unpredictable regulatory changes.

-Our members represent employees who travel in a fixed rotation and in line with the employer’s strict procedures on infection control. But confidence in the infection control regulations is weakened when measures are perceived as unpredictable, unsuitable and disproportionately intrusive, Alfheim and Solberg write.

They find it completely inconsequent that employees who have already been vaccinated or have experienced COVID-19 in the last six months are placed in public quarantine hotels.

-It is also perceived as disproportionate that employees cannot complete the quarantine in their own home, especially with today’s available test capacity which should be able to reduce the pressure on quarantine.

Common labor market in the North Sea

Norway and the United Kingdom share a common boundary at sea, and are largely mutually dependent on each other’s expertise, as the North Sea Basin constitutes a common labor market for shelf-based activities.

It also attracts strong attention that the government has introduced regulations that are not in line with the advice of the Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, NIPH, which in their professional advice to the government states that they see no reason «to have other entry restrictions for UK citizens than for citizens from countries in the EEA/Schengen».

-Our members have for a long time presented very good results on infection control. Travel, quarantine, testing and work schedules take place in accordance with strict procedures. We therefore request that the following change be made to the current regulations in accordance with NIPH and the Norwegian Directorate of Health’s professional recommendations.