NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Offshore worker discrimination 'not widespread' says UK government

north sea oil rig Image copyright Getty Images

An investigation into claims of discrimination against former oil workers has uncovered some examples but it is not widespread, the UK government has said.

BBC Scotland revealed last month that an MSP had passed on concerns.

One oil worker said companies would not hire him because they believed he would quit if the oil price rose again.

Business minister Margot James has now said the cases are believed to be isolated.

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin had described the extent of discrimination claims as "shocking".

'Skillsets respected'

She said many constituents had been in contact with her saying they had been excluded by employers outwith the energy sector because of their oil and gas background.

Business minister Ms James wrote: "My officials have discussed this issue with local Jobcentre Plus officials who have confirmed that they have also come across some examples of this practice during the current low-oil price downturn but consider them to be isolated instances and not the widespread practice of employers in the region.

"I believe the reluctance by employers to consider this highly skilled and motivated workforce to be misguided because I know that their skillsets are respected both across the UK and around the world."

Ms Martin said she was pleased the issue had been looked into but was "dismayed" by the suggestion there were only a few isolated cases.

Thousands of people have lost their jobs since the oil downturn began.

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