COSL Drilling To Face 229 Offshore Workers In Court

Published at 07:02PM - 26/04/16

Court action could now see COSL Drilling face all 229 former offshore workers it made redundant, following a recent ruling.

All 229 former offshore workers were made redundant by COSL Drilling, in the wake of early drilling rig terminations by oil major Statoil.

The latest revelation comes on the back of an ongoing court case against COSL Drilling, taken up by Norwegian energy workers union SAFE, over the handling of the redundancies.

COSL Drilling To Face 229 Workers In Court

The Jæren district court has now ruled that the planned hearing, for a small number of workers, should be heard as a ‘Class Action’, allowing all 229 workers to be represented at the same hearing as opposed to taking the matter to court individually.

“This is a positive ruling from the district court, SAFE gladly [takes on] this fight for all, regardless of the organization” said Elisabeth Bjelland, lawyer for SAFE.

Bjelland continued: “We won at least the first round. COSL [had] argued that the case could not be brought as a class action,”

Redundancy By Email

The court action centres around the value of redundancy money owed to each of the workers, with the two sides disputing each others interpretation of the Norwegian law covering the matter.

Under Norway’s ‘Working Environment Act’, a worker’s redundancy pay is calculated from the time they receive their redundancy letter, with the calculation typically rounded up, to start at the beginning of the next calendar month.

SAFE has alleged that COSL Drilling sent all 229 workers their redundancy letters by email, as well as a hard copy by standard post; and that COSL Drilling is calculating the redundancy pay from the time the emails were sent on the 30 June, rather than the arrival of the postal copies later in July.

Extra Months Wages

COSL appears to agree with this statement, arguing that the law allows for this, and that its current redundancy pay calculation, from the 1 July, should stand.

SAFE however argues that the law doesn’t allow for this and that their calculation from the 1 August, is the correct one; a calculation taken from when they claim the postal letters actually arrived, and a calculation that entitles all 229 workers to an extra months wages.

A SAFE statement read: ‘Law states that the dismissal must be delivered personally or sent by registered mail. Wording of the Act does not allow the posting of notice [by] e-mail,’

‘SAFE therefore believes that the basis for calculation shall be 1 August, since the given recommendation postal item was first received a few days in July.’

Court For Class Action 

The court has now ruled that the case should be hear as a ‘Class Action’, allowing all 229 workers to be represented at the same hearing as opposed to taking the matter to court individually.

Elisabeth Bjelland and SAFE have stated that they will now represent all 229 redundant workers if instructed.

As stated, COSL Drilling refute SAFE’s calculation, and that they are within the law. No further comment has been given by COSL on the matter.