A subsidiary of Italian contractor giant Saipem will pay out compensation to two offshore workers after a dispute about violation of working time regulations in Norway.

Norwegian trade union Industri Energi and Saipem Ltd reached a settlement over working hours for two remotely operated vehicle pilots working on the Italian player's semi-submersible rig Scarabeo 8 offshore Norway last year.

The two workers will between them now be compensated Nkr966,000 ($114,000) after Industri Energi accused Saipem Ltd of violating Norwegian workers' rights legislation.


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“This shows how important unions are,” said Industri Energi oil service agreement inspector Wayne Pena.

Upstream wrongly stated in an earlier version of this article that Saipem had lost in court. However, no court action ever took place.

Instead, an agreement was reached between the workers and the company, with the mediation of the union.

A Saipem spokesperson said that the payment was not a matter of compensation, but of a regularisation of payments between the parties.

“At the outcome of the meetings held with the utmost collaboration of all the parties involved and in the full interest of the two workers, the two ROV pilots were paid on the basis of the hours carried out and in line also with the provisions of the Norwegian legislation,” the spokesperson said.

“Saipem would like to stress that compliance with relevant local labour legislation is key to our operations in all countries where we are present.”

Upstream reported in January 2020 that Saipem had been accused by Industri Energi of violating Norway's regulations on workers' rights in the operation of ROVs on the country's continental shelf.

Industri Energi was alerted about a potential violation of working time regulations on board the Scarabeo 8 in the second half of 2019.

The union claimed that, during a meeting before Christmas 2019 at the Italian contractor's offices in London, it discovered documentation that showed that subsidiary Saipem Ltd — the responsible subsidiary in Norway — has systematically avoided Norwegian law and trade agreements in the country after it let most of its Norwegian personnel go in 2017 and 2018.

Pena told Upstream that Saipem Ltd has used operators of ROVs from a pool of 150 operators who did not have the same workers’ rights as Norwegian offshore workers.

(This article has been amended to correct information in the original headline and first and second paragraphs that incorrectly stated that Saipem Ltd had lost a court case in relation to action brought by the ROV workers concerned. No court case took place as the parties reached an out-of-court settlement.)