By the OGJ Online Staff
LONDON, Oct. 8 -- Organizations representing the UK oil and gas industry have formed a work group to consider how UK onshore working time regulations might be applied to offshore workers effective August 2003.
New working time regulations within the European Community came into force last week, but the offshore industry was excluded from the new restrictions. However, EC officials are discussing an amendment to include key sectors currently exempt from working time regulations -- including the UK's 23,000 offshore workers -- on Aug. 1, 2003.
The UK Department of Trade and Industry will issue a consultative document in the spring that will form the basis for the new regulations.
The regulations will implement an amendment to the European Working Time Directive, which since October 1998 has regulated the working hours of millions of UK employees to a 48-hr week.
Seven industry bodies are involved in the discussions: UK Offshore Operators Association, Offshore Contractors Association, UK Drilling Contractors Association, Wells Services Contractors Association, Catering Offshore Trade Association, International Association of Drilling Contractors, British Rig Owners Association, International Marine Contractors Association. The seven labor unions active in the UK offshore industry will also be involved.
The group will meet regularly and will submit a joint report next April summarizing the key issues. This will allow the UK government department drafting the regulations to take into account a diverse range of views before legislation is drawn up.