Aker BP Under Fire Over Mandatory Covid Vaccination Plan
Oil and gas company Aker BP has received criticism over a Covid-19 vaccine mandate for its offshore employees from the Norwegian offshore oil and gas workers union Industri Energi.
Industri Energi said in a statement earlier this week that Aker BP plans to introduce vaccine requirements for all its offshore workers as part of the protection against coronavirus starting from February 2022.
It is worth noting that if any employees don’t meet new requirements, they will be given alternative work onshore instead of offshore.
The new Aker BP rules imply that offshore workers have been vaccinated or have tested positive in the year prior to them going offshore. As for the vaccine, workers have to either be fully vaccinated or at least vaccinated with the first dose three to fifteen weeks before deployment offshore.
“We agree that we must protect our employees and our suppliers in the best possible way, but it also requires that we are involved in how it should happen and how our employees and suppliers are taken care of in this process,” Ingard Haugeberg, Industri Energi’s leader in ABC club, said.
“The company has not had discussions or involved us in any way regarding how this should happen,” Haugeberg added and stated his disappointment with the company's approach in the case as well as the fact that there was no involvement of either the club or the security service in advance.
“We are strongly critical of the process Aker BP has run,” said Industri Energi deputy manager, Lill-Heidi Bakkerud. “Aker BP has decided to introduce intrusive measures towards its employees, without involving either the club or the security service. It is unsustainable.”
She pointed out that a thorough risk assessment was needed, with employee participation. And that several questions need to be clarified. Bakkerud encouraged the company to spend a little more time and run an orderly process going forward with proper participation from the employees' representatives.
Aker BP is also in the middle of a large merger deal with Lundin’s oil and gas business. The two agreed to merge in December 2021 and the new company is expected to be the largest listed E&P company focused exclusively on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.
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