January 31, 2018 / 6:02 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Norway's Statnett suspends Siemens as future supplier over payments to workers

(Adds Siemens and Statnett comments, details)

OSLO, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Norway’s power grid operator Statnett said on Wednesday it had suspended Germany’s Siemens as a future supplier due to what it said was underpayment of workers at a Siemens subcontractor.

Statnett said it had decided to suspend Siemens, one of its major suppliers, from bidding in its tenders after the German company failed to show that it has fixed the problems with payments by a subcontractor, Slovakian Hesia.

“Therefore, we now choose to suspend Siemens’ qualification (as a supplier) until we receive credible evidence that the irregularities have been corrected,” Elisabeth Vardheim, Statnett’s executive vice-president, said.

A Siemens spokesman said the company was planning to submit additional evidence as soon as possible to continue the cooperation.

“We regret that Statnett has chosen to temporarily suspend Siemens as a supplier,” the spokesman said.

Statnett said Hesia’s workers, who were installing transformers for Statnett in central Norway in 2016, were paid less than they were entitled to under the sectoral agreement between the unions and employees in Norway.

They were hired by Siemens’ subsidiary Koncar, but Statnett had a contract with Siemens.

“Siemens responsibility was to make sure that everybody is paid under the agreed terms,” Statnett’s spokesman said.

Siemens said the discrepancies in pay were corrected in 2016, and the company supplied Statnett documents showing that the employees have received the payment they were entitled to.

Statnett, however, has requested additional documents, it added.

Koncar and Hesia were not immediately available to comment.

Both Siemens and Croatia’s Koncar are major suppliers to Statnett, Statnett’s spokesman said.

The state-owned transmission system operator also said it would review contracts already signed with Siemens. (Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis and Lefteris Karagiannopoulos; Additional reporting by Alexander Hubner in Munich; Editing by Alister Doyle and Alison Williams)

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