SHAMELESS shipping bosses reluctantly confessed yesterday to their plans to sack 45 British seafarers and replace them with cheaper workers from abroad.
North Sea shipping company Farstad confirmed the callous move to its British waters crew after mates found out about lay-offs through the grapevine.
The Star has seen a series of emails exchanged between a Nautilus member and Farstad, where management was made to admit its plans.
Farstad argued that in order to “lower costs” and keep “vessels active” British workers’ jobs would soon be taken over by less expensive personnel.
Maritime professionals’ union Nautilus branded the move “disgusting” and illegal under British work regulations. The union’s senior national secretary Garry Elliott said: “It is disgusting that a company which had previously agreed that British seafarers would be employed on British terms and conditions can ignore rules about redundancy and wipe out their UK staff without a second thought.
“What Farstad is doing is nothing more than creating fake redundancy as an excuse to sack workers and get cheaper crewing costs.”
Around 65,000 jobs have been lost in the North Sea since oil prices plummeted last year. Commenting on his sacking a Farstad worker said: “Surely it is time for the UK government to take the situation in the North Sea seriously and start protecting jobs?
“Wouldn’t it be better to have 65,000 offshore workers in jobs, paying tax and supporting the UK economy rather than 65,000 UK workers claiming benefits and 65,000 foreigners working in UK waters but not contributing a penny to the economy?”
Nautilus called on Farstad to hold emergency talks but is reportedly also considering legal action.
Farstad Shipping boss Torstein Stavseng said: "Farstad Shipping is in a process where we due to the difficult market situation, reduction in fleet size and laid up vessels unfortunately must lay off skilled seafarers, including British ones.
"According to normal procedures in such processes, notice has been sent to those concerned, with an invitation to a meeting with the company. We will return with more information as it becomes available."