Unite calls for intervention on oil company’s mandatory vaccination rule

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A union has called for government intervention after an offshore contractor allegedly introduced a ‘draconian’ compulsory vaccination policy.

Canadian Natural Resources (CNR) International, which has offices in Aberdeen, would be the first offshore contractor or operator to require its workers to be vaccinated before returning to work.

Unite the Union said it understands that no CNR employee is permitted to return to any of the company’s offshore platforms, including Ninian Central, Ninian South and Tiffany in the North Sea, unless have been vaccinated.

Contracting companies working on these platforms – including Petrofac, Aker, EnerMech, Bilfinger and Global E&C – are also not allowed to send staff unless they have had the beatings of Covid, the union said.

It is understood that CNR will make exceptions to the policy for workers with verified medical or religious reasons against vaccination.

Unite has confirmed that it is considering legal action against any company seeking to pursue a ‘hit or use’ policy.

John Boland, the union’s industrial leader, said: “Unite has now taken the decision to demand the intervention and support of the Scottish Government regarding CNR’s draconian measures.

“Our position is that we support workers who get vaccinated against Covid-19, but we strongly oppose any mandatory vaccination policy.”

Boland said other offshore contractors and operators have chosen not to pursue mandatory vaccinations but, instead, to focus on education and communication to boost vaccination.

He said it was understood that similar campaigns by other companies had led to more than 80% of the offshore workforce being vaccinated.

“This position is supported by Oil and Gas UK, and to our knowledge no other operator or contractor has applied such a policy,” he added.

“We will not hesitate to challenge any employer, including CNR, who sanctions or terminates our members for exercising their right not to be vaccinated, including consideration of legal action.”

CNR and the Scottish Government have been approached for comment.

Many global energy companies, including CNR, have faced outbreaks of Covid-19 in the past year as oil workers tend to work closely together for weeks at a time.

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