Industri Energi works continuously for improving solutions for members who have to stay in hotel quarantine

tirsdag 17. november 2020

-We are constantly working to come up with better solutions for our members who currently must be quarantined before going to work, says deputy leader Lill-Heidi Bakkerud in Industri Energi.

Many employees who work on the Norwegian shelf experience a completely unreasonable and unsustainable situation, where many almost live in quarantine. Industri Energi has therefore worked diligently focusing on the quarantine issue since the restrictions were introduced this spring.

-We have, among other things, established a working group that regularly presents proposals for the employers’ side about solutions that will ensure the employees in a better way. A common set of regulations that shortens the quarantine period, while at the same time safeguarding the infection control is necessary, says Lill-Heidi Bakkerud.

Industri Energi is concerned that there must be common routines and regulations, regardless of which company you work for.

-We shall not accept the current situation, where the companies’ own regulations differ in all directions. For the subcontractors, it is particularly difficult when employees are exposed to different quarantine regimes, depending on which company they are working for, says Bakkerud.

Industri Energi is also concerned that the demanding situation people experience during quarantine may affect safety and a safe working environment.

Faced with an impossible choice

Lill-Heidi Bakkerud, deputy leader in Industri Energi. Photo: Atle Espen Helgesen
Lill-Heidi Bakkerud, deputy leader in Industri Energi. Photo: Atle Espen Helgesen

Lill-Heidi Bakkerud emphasizes that the situation is particularly demanding now, after the infection situation has escalated both nationally and internationally. Especially after the authorities introduced ten days quarantine for all visitors to Norway. This applies to all our members outside the country’s borders. Both those who work on fixed installations, those on mobile rigs and not least those of our members in oil service companies and who are working available schedules.

-Many of our members are faced with an impossible choice; whether they are going to sacrifice their job or their family. Among other things, we hear examples from British members, in a country that is currently in full lock-down, and who at 12 days before departure are told that they must show up at a quarantine hotel in Norway no later than 10 days before their scheduled offshore hitch.

If for any reason there is a delay, they will be deducted from salary.

And we receive reports about parents with shared care for children who get significant problems when they must be quarantined for ten days in a hotel, before each work period.

It is simply a situation people should not endure over time. There is hope for a vaccine ahead, but until there is control of the infection situation, a fully safe working environment must be maintained. We expect the employers to facilitate this, including the special consideration that must be taken during the Christmas holidays, she says.

Dispute over financial compensation

When it comes to financial compensation for those who must attend hotel quarantine to get to work, Industri Energi has not agreed with the employers’ associations, Norwegian Oil and Gas and the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association.

-Industri Energi is quite clear that time spent in quarantine must be compensated. Quarantine in a hotel is not a holiday stay. Those in quarantine spend their leisure time to be available to their employers 24/7. But employers do not agree with us. This question is now taken care of by LO, which has put its labor law lawyers on the case, says Bakkerud.