Union Amicus has won a test case ruling that the Working Time Directive should be applied to UK oil employees working offshore.
An employment tribunal brought by the union found in favour of offshore workers by ruling that the Working Time Directive applies beyond the territorial waters (12 miles) and includes offshore workers.
Employers had argued that the directive only applied to the UK and waters within a 12-mile radius of the coastline.
Amicus national officer Graham Tran said: “This is a wonderful victory and all the sweeter that it has come on the day that BP has announced £6bn profit for the first six months of this year.
“We hope that the rich oil companies will now recognise their responsibility to give their employees four weeks paid annual leave a year and will not appeal the employment tribunal decision given today.”
The judgement stated that the offshore workers pattern of one week on and one week off cannot be considered as a period of paid annual leave, and that offshore workers should be entitled to a full four weeks annual leave.