Union has welcomed vote in the European Parliament to reject EU-wide regulations for oil & gas industry. Critics said earlier plans would have set back recent progress on North Sea safety.

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Unite has welcomed a vote in the European Parliament to reject EU-wide regulations for the offshore industry.

Unite, which represents 15,000 members across the sector, opposed proposals by the European Commission to enforce binding offshore legislation in response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

The plans were also opposed by oil industry lobbyists and both the Coalition and SNP governments.

Critics said the commission’s plans would have fuelled a ‘race to the bottom in health and safety’ at a time where more than 50% of offshore installations are approaching the end of their 20-year production lives and would have set back recent progress in safety standards in the North Sea oil and gas fields and west of Shetland.

MEPs are expected to draw up a directive on health and safety which can be enforced by member states according to their own national industry standards.

Unite regional officer and Chairman of the International Trade Union Working Party, John Taylor, said: “The decision by the European Commission to seek a fresh directive rather than imposing regulation on safety standards for the offshore industry is a victory for common sense.

“European trade unions have spent six months working in Brussels to achieve this result.

“We held firm in our argument that the original regulatory proposals would have made the offshore industry an unsafe environment for workers.

“However, this is not the end of our fight.

“We will continue our lobby to ensure this the new directive delivers a high standard of training and employment rights for safety reps throughout Europe – it should drive up standards and not down.”

MEPs on the European Parliament’s industry committee also rejected plans for a ban on drilling for oil in the Arctic.

Instead, they have proposed a directive to ensure that drilling companies have sufficient ‘financial security’ to cover any liabilities incurred from accidents.


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