§ John Thurso
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she is taking to secure protection under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employees) Regulations 1981 for those engaged in the offshore industry who are employed on the UK continental shelf; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Alan Johnson
The offshore industry is not explicitly excluded from the coverage of the regulations. The regulations implement the EC Acquired Rights Directive, which states that it shall apply where and in so far as the undertaking, business or part to be transferred is situated within the territorial scope of the Treaty.
The Government have been considering possibilities for the reform of the TUPE Regulations, but has no plans to make further provision specifically in relation to the continental shelf. We announced on 14 February 2003 that a public consultation will be launched in the first half of this year on draft revised regulations. All representations received in that consultation will be taken into account. The new regulations are expected to be in effect by April 2004.