Unite warns Shell and BG against job cuts

Shell's Brent platforms in the North Sea (Image source: Shell)
Shell’s Brent platforms in the North Sea (Image source: Shell)

Britain’s largest union, Unite, warned against crude cost cutting and job cuts following Wednesday’s announcement of the deal between Royal Dutch Shell and BG Group. 

With workers in Shell’s North Sea operations already facing a raft of job cuts and the two companies talking of the need to achieve ‘synergies’, the union called for urgent assurances over jobs and skills.

Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “North Sea oil and gas is in the grip of a concerted attempt by the offshore industry to impose a race to the bottom on jobs, terms and conditions.

“People are already paying with their livelihoods because the big oil companies failed to put aside money for a rainy day when the sun was shining and oil prices were high.

The deal, under which Shell will buy its smaller rival BG Group for a hefty sum of approximately $70 billion, has been described as the oil and gas deal of the decade.

“This mega merger should not be built off the back of crude cost cutting and further job cuts which would only serve to be counterproductive over the long term. Both Shell and BG Group need to make commitments on retaining skills and give assurances over jobs.”

To remind, last month Shell UK said it planned to reduce the number of staff and agency contractors who support the company’s UK North Sea operations by at least 250 in 2015.

According to the union an estimated 10,000 offshore jobs have already been lost since the oil price slump.


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