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Sunday, 21 December 2014

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Windfarm boat transfer crew believe their job losses may be unlawful

EMPLOYEES of a windfarm boat transfer crew which was contracted to work with the firm running a windfarm off Barrow have been made redundant in a move that could be in breach of UK law.

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ROW Eight employees of a windfarm boat transfer crew have been made redundant in a move that could be in breach of UK law. DONG Energy has terminated a contract with A2SEA to take engineers to the Walney offshore windfarm, pictured. Inset, Steve Walker, is head of employment law and managing director at Livingstons in Ulverston JOE RILEY/LINDSEY DICKINGS

Boat transfer firm A2SEA had a three-year contract to provide transfer vessels and crews to take DONG Energy engineers to the Walney offshore windfarm off the coast of Barrow.

But DONG has now announced it will terminate the contract from September and award the contract to Norwegian shipping giant Fred Olsen.

According to UK and EU law, the eight Barrow-based A2SEA crew members should be given the option of becoming Fred Olsen employees.

However, A2SEA has said the employees have been made redundant and Fred Olsen has not offered to take on the crew.

Under the Transfer of Undertakings Regulations 2006, also known as TUPE, firms must protect employees’ rights when the organisation or service they work for transfers to a new employer.

Steve Walker, who is head of employment law and managing director at Livingstons in Ulverston, said: “Although there are some circumstances where TUPE will not apply, the general rule is that if Business B (Fred Olsen) is doing much the same thing after the transfer as Business A (A2SEA) did before the transfer, Business B will also inherit Business A’s employees with all their rights intact.

“Employees who don’t want to work for Business B don’t have to and where they object, their employment comes to an end at the point of transfer. Otherwise, employees who are sacked or made redundant by Business A because of an upcoming transfer or who are not allowed to continue working by Business B may well have grounds to argue that they have been automatically unfairly dismissed.

“Such claims will usually be brought against Business B, as from the point of transfer, Business B became the employer. However, TUPE is complex and so anyone who finds themselves in this situation and is unsure what to do should seek specialist advice.”

A spokeswoman for A2SEA said the firm had not been able to avoid redundancy.

Alan Price, a spokesman for DONG Energy, said: “The A2SEA contract would have expired in December 2014, but more capable and modern vessels than the two Walney-owned crew transfer vessels are required to support such operation and maintenance activity in the future. The new vessels needed to be secured in good time before the A2SEA contract expired. A new contract has been entered into with Fred Olsen to provide three fully crewed vessels.”

A spokesman for Fred Olsen said the firm was unable to comment at this stage.

Have your say

Its nice to know that comments made to the evening mail about job redundancies on barrow windfarm crew never got published another big hush hush by your local paper let the people of barrow who buy your paper voice there concerns

Posted by barrow local on 18 August 2014 at 06:36

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