Calls for oil and gas workers discrimination probe

By Fiona Stalker
BBC Scotland reporter

Media caption,
Colin McIntyre was made redundant a year ago

Calls have been made for a probe into claims of widespread discrimination against former oil and gas workers by employers outwith the industry.

One former oil worker has told BBC Scotland companies will not hire him because they believe he will quit if the oil price rises again.

Colin McIntyre lost his job as a procurement manager a year ago.

An MSP has now passed evidence of the practice to the UK employment minister.

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

'Explicitly told'

Concerns have now been raised that some companies and recruiting agencies are actively excluding candidates from the sector.

Mr McIntyre said: "Explicitly I was told 'we are not interested in people from oil and gas at the moment. You'll just go back up to Aberdeen when the recovery starts'.

"I would just like people to see beyond the title and look at the skill set.

"I think a lot of people will be surprised how much skills and experience people in oil and gas have."

'Deeply concerning'

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin has written to UK Employment Minister Damian Hinds.

She says she has seen "documentary evidence" of some level of discrimination against former oil and gas workers and she now wants an investigation into how widespread this is.

She wrote: "Many people who have lost their jobs in the oil and gas sector have been trying to find employment in other sectors of the economy.

"Examples suggest that companies are discriminating against these workers, regardless of their skills, based only on their past involvement in the oil and gas industry."

A spokeswoman for the Department For Work and Pensions said it was a matter for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to address.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
The North Sea industry has seen lower oil prices

Scotland's Employment Minister Jamie Hepburn, who was also contacted, said: "These claims are deeply concerning and its absolutely right that Gillian Martin has raised this with the UK government, which has responsibility in this area.

"The north east has a highly-talented oil and gas workforce with skills that can be utilised in a wide range of different sectors, including renewables, construction, decommissioning and many others.

"The Energy Jobs Taskforce has brought together key partners to maximise employment opportunities and we have set up a £12m Transition Training Fund that has so far enabled more than 1,500 former oil and gas workers to receive support for training from the fund."

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