Louisiana’s Melancon Urges BP to Pay Jobless Rig Workers’ Full Salaries

June 18, 2010

U.S. Congressman Charlie Melancon (LA-03) says lost wages of oil rig workers who are out of a job due to the moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico could reach as high as $330 million a month. Melancon wants BP to foot the bill for paying the full salary of every rig worker who has been laid off.

The congressman, whose district is in Southeast Louisiana, sent a letter to BP CEO Tony Hayward calling on the company to pay the full salaries of the laid off rig workers.

Melancon also has been pressing the Obama Administration to end the moratorium on deep-water drilling and clarify new regulations for shallow-water drilling that have created a “de facto” moratorium in the Gulf.

BP in a recent meeting with President Barak Obama agreed to set up a $20 billion fund to pay claims related to the spill. The company also agreed to set up a $100 million fun to help support unemployed oil rig workers.

In his letter to BP’s Hayward, Melancon wrote, “Today’s announcement that your company has agreed to establish a $20 billion fund to pay claims and that Mr. Kenneth Feinberg will oversee this fund are steps in the right direction. But the claims process needs to be streamlined to ensure that those who have been harmed by your company’s actions do not suffer further.

Calling the $100 million fund BP has created to supported unemployed oil rig workers “merely a drop in the bucket of what is needed to make these workers whole,” Melancon called on BP “to pay the full salary of each worker whose job has been terminated due to the moratorium for as long as the deepwater drilling ban impacts their employment.”

Melancon noted, “[T]he direct wages lost during this shutdown may be as high as $330 million per month.”

In conclusion, Melancon wrote, “BP has made a promise to take responsibility for the worst-man-made disaster in our nation’s history. Simply put, covering the fully salary of workers who have been terminated because of the drilling ban is part of keeping that promise.”

Source: Office of Rep. Charlie Melancon

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