PETROFAC, the oil construction firm building Total’s new gas plant at Sullom Voe, have denied claims it has employed cheap labour on the site.
The GMB trade union has said its members have reported more than 100 foreign workers have been taken on by the global company.
Petrofac said that it had not employed any non-UK labour on the site.
However GMB general secretary Paul Kenny insisted: “GMB members in the engineering construction industry have reported to the union that a large number of workers from other parts of the world – over 100- have been brought into Shetland by Petrofac while skilled workers unemployed in Scotland and the rest of the UK have been given no opportunity to apply for this work.”
He said the contract had reached the stage where metal fabrication and pipe workers were being taken on.
“There are a large number of highly skilled engineering construction workers unemployed both in Scotland and the rest of the UK. They are demanding to know why they have been denied the opportunity to apply for these jobs.
“GMB will require proof that not only is there no discrimination against the indigenous workforce but that workers from overseas are not being exploited by undercutting the agreed rates of pay.”
Petrofac issued a statement saying it had not employed any non UK labour for engineering and construction of the Shetland gas plant.
“Petrofac intends to commence recruitment of its construction workforce in mid-2012 and is committed to recruiting personnel from across the UK where appropriate.
“GMB’s statement is inaccurate and we will address this with them directly.”
The union had a run in with Total at the Lindsey refinery in England in 2009 over a similar issue, when Italian sub contractor IREM employed European workers on site.