Chip shop sets limit on number of oil and gas workers

A Lerwick chippie is restricting the numbers of oil and gas industry workers it allows through its door at any one time because of barge residents “struggling to behave like humans”.

The Harbour Fish and Chip Shop in the town’s Harrison Square put up a sign insisting it wants to see no more than four employees from three companies operating in the oil and gas sector.

chip shop posterThe poster, which bills itself as a safety notice, reads: “No more than four of the following employees in shop at one time
• Morrison Construction
• Petrofac
• Wood Group PSN
due to a minority of grown men struggling to behave like humans. Thank you.”

Staff at the shop have declined to comment. But privately concerns have been highlighted about racially abusive incidents and anti-social behaviour allegedly perpetrated by workers living in nearby barges.

The incident has sparked online debate, with some apparently taking the side of industry workers.

A Facebook post by “The Rig Workers Rant” was dismissive of the isles – and its women.

“Racial abuse and grown men fighting is never a good company image,” the rant said. “I suppose this is what happens when you thump 2,000 ex-convicts together as construction contractors on an Island where the sheep are more appealing than the women!”

Petrofac spokesman Nathaniel Mumford said the behaviour was unacceptable.

“We take our responsibilities to the Shetland community extremely seriously and make every effort to impress them on our staff and those of our contractors.

“This includes strict guidelines for appropriate behaviour on and off-site. If we find evidence that these guidelines have been breached then appropriate action will be taken.”

Wood Group’s Carolyn Smith said: “Wood Group PSN respects all the communities in which we operate and any breach of acceptable behaviour by our workforce would result in us taking appropriate action.”

Lynsey Anderson, from Morrison Construction, said it took the issue of antisocial behaviour very seriously.

“While we have received no direct reports that our own operatives have been involved in any recent incidents, Morrison Construction takes the behaviour of its staff and their conduct within the wider community very seriously. As a result we are reiterating to all of our operatives in Lerwick the standard of behaviour expected of them and we will not tolerate any actions that cause distress to the local community.

“We will continue to strive to maintain good relations with the wider community wherever possible and ask anybody who does have a concern to contact us as soon as possible.”

It came as police have began enquiries into reports of an assault within the chip shop.

It comes as police have begun enquiries into reports of an assault within the chip shop.

The incident is said to have happened on Sunday. Police say it was reported by a third party, and are urging the victims of the assault to come forward and make themselves known so full enquiries can be made.

It is believed that two men were assaulted and that two other males were responsible.

Anyone with any information is requested to contact the police on 101 or speak to any police officer.





Add Your Comment
  • joe johnson

    • June 17th, 2015 11:43

    Very sad! Grown men acting like children! There is no excuse for that kind of behaviour. No need for it.

  • Kathy Greaves

    • June 17th, 2015 12:46

    If they’d moored the accommodation barges at Dales Voe instead of in Lerwick Harbour we would not have this problem. Maybe our council and the Harbour Board will learn their lesson for next time.

  • Michael Garriock

    • June 17th, 2015 13:28

    Yes, it is sad and inexcusble that people choose to behave in such a way that a business felt the need to put such a notice up in the first place, but what is arguably considerably more worrying is the apparent “Big Brother” attitude both of the general public and the individual employers.

    Fair enough, one’s employer has the right to dictate how an employee behaves and by default represents them during “company time”, and that includes while in company premises/facilities, but any company which decides they will also try to dictate how I spend my free time everywhere else as well is not a company I would ever work for.

    Free time off company premises, is free time, how anyone spends it is a matter for which they themselves are 100% responsible and no-one else. If folk behave unacceptably during that free time, we all pay to have the Police and Courts to deal with such things, let them take care of it, and pressure them to do so if they’re not.

    We already passively accept the state “forcing” us to use certain devices allegedly for our own “safety” when driving, a person can, I am led to believe, be denied, or evicted from state housing if they choose to live certain lifestyle(s) which have no impact on the property of neighbourhood, now apparently folk are supposed to have their behviour dictated by their employer 24/7/365. What happened to the rights of the individual of freedom of choice?

    • Ali Inkster

      • June 17th, 2015 20:35

      In this case Michael the companies employees are only here because of their job. I work all over for the oil industry and fully accept that my behaviour while in their employ and set in whatever community I happen to be in reflects on the company. I know of guys who have been sent home to find a bill for their repatriation and the cost of their replacement for upsetting the locals. So as someone who has been in the workers shoes I have no problem with the majority of them who are here to make money and provide for themselves and their families. But when they embarrass themselves and their employers with their behaviour then likewise I have no problem with them paying the price.

  • David Spence

    • June 17th, 2015 21:18

    Michael, I suspect the company feels partly responsible for the way their workers behave outside working hours due to the nature of the job and the fact this job is in an isolated location……an island.

    I take your point in regards to civil rights etc etc but if the company employ’s people to do a job in an isolated location, then they are partly responsible for whatever trouble or concerns their employee’s impose onto the community, whether this is good or bad for such a community.

    As well as this, I do not think the company had much choice but to get skilled or unskilled workers from the mainland given the size in which the work entailed. In other words, local labour would not have even scratched the surface in regards to the number of people required for such a job.

    In saying this though, unsociable behaviour is unacceptable regardless to the circumstances, and I do see your point in workers losing their job because of such behaviour, even if it was outwith working hours. As said though, the company brought these people up to do a job, not to create disruption or cause unsociable behaviour within the community………and this is where the company may have a say in such matters.

  • Hugh Jamieson

    • June 19th, 2015 8:11

    Is this poster legal?

    Is that not discrimination?

    • Jim Moran

      • June 19th, 2015 10:28

      I agree Hugh Jamieson, to my mind this is no different than putting up a poster stating that no more than 4 Black, Asian, Gay, etc people are allowed in the shop at one time. It is discriminatory and surely unlawful. If you put a few thousand workers in one place there will inevitably be a few who do not behave in an acceptable manner. However to assume that all will behave in this way is totally wrong and not justifiable.
      Also the shop in question seems to be quite happy to stay open until the early hours of the morning taking the money off these workers. I would suggest that if they feel the behaviour of some is so unacceptable at that hour that they close earlier and reduce the risk of people being drunk in their shop and thereby behaving badly.

      • Rachel Buchan

        • June 19th, 2015 22:29

        What a load of rubbish, Jim. Their reaction isn’t based on colour, creed, or sexual orientation, which are harmless – it’s based on lack of decent behaviour, which isn’t. It’s the few who have spoilt it for the many.

      • Andrew Leask

        • June 21st, 2015 11:19

        lol, talk about whataboutery and blaming the victims.

    • Wayne Conroy

      • June 19th, 2015 12:14

      I believe it’s the falls under the same category as the “only 2 school children in shop at one time” rule…

      It is legal for an establishment to create and enforce rules such as this if the rule in question is to deter a problem that may cause the downfall of the said establishment. It is self-preservation in effect. I guess it’s something to do with liability – (in case someone was to get harmed in their establishment)

      Personally I would have just had video cameras recording in-store and given the videos to the police in the event of any problems!

      • Wayne Conroy

        • June 19th, 2015 12:19

        Oops – Meant to say “I believe it falls under… “

    • Rachel Buchan

      • June 19th, 2015 22:24

      I don’t see how it’s discrimination. It’s no different than some shops down south saying “no more than 4 school children at a time”. It’s simply to lessen the chances of trouble.

      • Steven Jarmson

        • June 23rd, 2015 17:19

        And I think that’s being looked into on discrimination grounds.
        Wrongly in my view.

  • Michael Garriock

    • June 19th, 2015 12:06

    @ Hugh Jamieson. Why would it be discrimination? Nobody is being prevented from entering, just being told to wait their turn. Unlike the long standing “no work clothes” and “must be wearing a tie” type rules which have been longstanding in many establishments.

    If simply waiting your turn is “illegal” and “discrimination” then surely it follows that any facility operating turnstile entry system or similar is equally “illegal” and “discrimination”.

    It is a privately run commercial business and not the only place selling food either after all, not a public service. So at the end of the day I don’t see what the problem is with the business owner deciding who they will or won’t do business with, or how. The free market will soon dictate who will thrive and who is being too fussy to survive.

  • Haydn Gear

    • June 19th, 2015 19:48

    Giving the benefit of any lingering doubt to the proprietors of the chip shop (and why not?) it seems perfectly sensible and wholly acceptable for them to restrict numbers entering their premises if they anticipate that there is any hint of rowdy customers kicking off. It has not been suggested that particular people have been targeted so accusations of discrimination are without foundation. If there is a risk to the business falling foul of violent or damaging behaviour, they have every right to protect their best interests.If some people can’t conduct themselves in an orderly manner then they can expect to be held in check. If they think that Shetland should accept and tolerate yobbish behaviour, then let them think again.

  • Bert Morrison

    • June 19th, 2015 22:53

    Record CCTV evidence and hand to the police. Nobody should have to put up with abuse from an ignorant few whether staff or customers. Unless they are wearing logo’d clothing, how on earth can a Petrofac, WG or Morrisons employee be identified? If there are 2 Petrofac and 2 WG employees all plain clothed in the chip shop, how does the Morrisons employee know to stand outside? Also what about the rowdy Scottie fisherman who has spent all day in the Thule, does he get in whilst the Morrisons one stands outside? Stupid unworkable rule. Let the law sort the perpetrators.

  • Wayne Easton

    • June 22nd, 2015 20:19

    Suggesting that the posters are discrimination is utter tosh. They’re no worse than local shops that are frequented by ravenous bands of schoolkids putting up similar notices limiting the number of kids in at any one time. I guess the only difference are the presumed ages of those focused upon.
    Individuals need to act their ages and not their shoe sizes regardless of where they are. The same could be suggested as to when they’re on the ferries to / from Lerwick.


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