Transocean employees were underpaid

Transocean Rig Lay Off“Transocean Barents” is one of the rigs Transocean has laid off crews from in recent years. Photo: Transocean / Sysla

340 Transocean employees were paid to little when they were laid off

Stavanger District Court has decided in the case, and agrees with the trade union Safe that Transocean and Shipowners’ Association have interpreted the rules incorrectly. The case can have consequences for several hundred employees.

 

If you have an annual income of more than NOK 561,000 and have been laid off, you may be entitled to post payment if you have received a reduction in payment from your employer.

This will be the consequence of a recent verdict from Stavanger District Court, if it is enforced.

– It’s a very important principal victory. There are countless companies facing the same issue.

This says lawyer for Safe, lawyer Bernt Hodne.

The conflict ended in court

On November 14 this year he faced the Norwegian Ship owners’ Association’s lawyer in the Stavanger District Court.

Hodne represented an employee in Transocean, who filed a case against the employer in May this year, after being laid off.

After being laid off, the employer is to pay the employee’s salary for the first ten days before the person gets unemployment benefits from NAV instead.

That there were valid grounds for the lay-off, everyone agrees to.

The issue that caused the case to end up in the judicial system is how much the employer has to pay during the first 10 days of the lay-off.

Quarrel about limits

Transocean and the Ship owners’ Association believe the basis for the calculation is to be limited to 6 times the basic amount of the National Insurance Scheme.

The employer’s side claims that an employee earning more than NOK 561,000 a year will not receive full pay for the first ten days.

Safe, and several other trade unions, believe that there is no legal basis for operating with such a limit: Employers are to pay full salary for the first ten days, without limitation, according to their claim.

And in this, Stavanger District Court gives them total support.

Laid off 340

– The court concludes that there is no basis for understanding § 4 of the Salary Payroll Act, so that there is a limitation in the basis of calculation of 6 G. The plaintiff’s claim is therefore supported, the court writes in the verdict.

This means that the employee who was represented by Safe is to be paid near to NOK 9000.

And since there was a consensus between the parties that the case was run as so-called pilot case, the verdict will also encompass all other lay-offs in Transocean.

On three occasions in 2015 and 2016, the company has laid off a total of 340 employees on the Transocean Barents (2015) and Transocean Arctic (2016) rigs, in periods when the rigs have been laid up pending new contracts, according to the verdict.

Regards several hundred

– For each member it might mean between NOK 7000 and 15,000 each time, says Hodne.

This means that Transocean has to fork out somewhere between NOK 2.4 and 5.1 million in post payments.

The lawyer also believes that other employers will have to pay out in line with Transocean

– We can not force them, but it will be very stupid of them to reject when we have won with such a clear verdict, he says.

in Safe alone he estimates that there are several hundred who have claims against the rig companies.

– How many dare I do not guess, but we are talking hundreds with us alone, says Hodne.

One month to consider an appeal

Transocean also has to pay a court fee of NOK 80,000.

Sysla has not succeeded in getting a comment from the shipping company’s lawyer, Pål Tangen, who led the case on behalf of Transocean.

The verdict is not in force before the one month appeal deadline has elapsed.

 

©  Sysla / Norway Today

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