Union Demands Govt Help Over CNR Jab Or Job Policy

Union Demands Govt Help Over CNR Jab Or Job Policy
Unite Scotland has demanded intervention by the government in response to CNR International introducing mandatory vaccinations.

Oil and gas workers’ union Unite Scotland has demanded intervention by the government in response to Canadian Natural Resources (CNR) International introducing mandatory vaccinations.

The policy came into full effect on January 14 and, according to Unite, it is believed to be the first of any offshore contractor or operator to demand that its workforce receive Covid-19 related vaccinations or not to return to work.

The union added that no worker is now permitted by CNR to mobilize on to any of the offshore platforms – Ninian Central, Ninian South, and Tiffany – it operates unless they have been vaccinated.

CNR has also informed its contracting firms working on these platforms including Petrofac, Aker, EnerMech, Bilfinger, and Global E&C that no worker is to return unless they are vaccinated. Unite has confirmed that it is looking at legal action against any company seeking to pursue a ‘jab or job’ policy.

Unite claimed that other offshore contractors and operators have chosen not to pursue mandatory vaccinations but instead to focus on education and communication to boost vaccination take-up.

The union stated that similar drives by other firms have led to over 80 percent of the offshore workforce being vaccinated. Oil and Gas UK has also encouraged vaccine take-up but not through mandatory enforcement.

“Unite has now taken the step to demand intervention and support by the Scottish government over CNR’s draconian measures. Our position is that we support workers getting the Covid-19 vaccination, but we are strenuously opposed to any mandatory vaccination policy,” John Boland, Unite industrial officer, said.

“Instead, education and communication should be used to encourage people to get the vaccine instead of workers, in essence, being told it’s a jab or your job. This position is supported by Oil and Gas UK, and to our knowledge, no other operator or contractor has enforced such a policy,” he added.

“We will not hesitate to challenge any employer, including CNR, that disciplines or dismisses our members for exercising their right not to be vaccinated including the consideration of legal action," Boland concluded.

This is the second controversy regarding vaccines in the oil and gas industry in recent times. Namely, Norway’s Aker BP is planning to introduce requirements for Covid protection for its workers traveling offshore. This announcement also ran into opposition from the Norwegian worker’s union.

Following the publishing of the article, Rigzone received a statement from a CNR spokesperson regarding the issue. You can read the statement in full below.

"CNR International has implemented extensive measures to reduce the risk of exposure and transmission of COVID-19 in our operations, including a vaccination policy. Our decisions are made with the health and safety of all company staff and individuals working with CNR International in mind. We have been liaising closely with contracting companies to encourage their offshore employees not yet vaccinated to join the majority of the offshore crew who are. This includes providing access to medical professionals, help in addressing any concerns or logistical barriers to vaccination, and granting exceptions, where appropriate. To date, the response to this approach has been positive, with a significant majority of our offshore workforce now vaccinated," the CNR spokesperson claimed.

To contact the author, email bojan.lepic@rigzone.com

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