26 Dec 2015

Company can't tell workers where to sleep

11:17 am on 26 December 2015

A New Plymouth oil and gas drilling company has been told it can not force workers to live in a nearby camp between shifts.

In March, MB Century discovered some workers were going home after shifts at an onshore drilling rig, rather than a designated camp, 35km outside the city.

The company reminded staff they had to live at the camp while rostered on or face dismissal, and created a new rule that they had a two hour window after work to get there.

It said the rule was to "ensure personnel are achieving a minimum of seven hours of sleep between shifts".

That proved the final straw for the union E Tū, which complained the rules breached the collective agreement, and were also "unlawful, unreasonable and against public policy".

A newly-released Employment Relations Authority decision has sided with E Tū.

It found the only relevant aspect of the collective agreement was "the employer may provide a camp for accommodation" and has ordered the company to abolish the rule.

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