RMT and GMB say workers are being made to carry the can for industry failures

BPUnite has called for urgent intervention by the UK government to support the North Sea oil and gas industry following today’s announcement by BP that it is cutting 200 jobs and 100 contractors.

Accusing the major oil companies and government of failing to prepare for falling oil prices, the union warned that short term job cuts would lead to a loss of skills that could undermine health and safety and the future of the industry in the North Sea.

Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “This latest announcement on job cuts from BP is part of a deeply worrying trend across an industry which is central to the Scottish and wider UK economy.

“People are paying with their livelihoods, because of a failure by the oil majors and the Westminster government to prepare for a fall in oil prices. They’ve made hay while the sun shone, but put aside little for a rainy day.

“Over time oil prices will recover. There is a real danger that knee jerk job cuts will undermine health and safety and the future of the industry in the long term.

“The UK government needs to intervene urgently to support the industry and the taskforces set up by the Scottish government and local authority in Aberdeen need to turn words into urgent action.”

Unions are tomorrow to meet with Oil and Gas UK in a bid to save the jobs.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “The announcement from BP is a devastating blow to hundreds of workers in the UK energy industry and we are being warned that there is much worse to come.

RMT believes that the industry is making offshore workers carry the can for their failure to plan for lean times such as these. Instead they have gone for a short term “slash and burn” approach that will have long term implications for the future of the entire industry and the security of the UK’s energy supplies.

RMT, along with our sister unions,  is meeting with Oil and Gas UK tomorrow where we will be pushing for a halt to the job cuts programme and an emergency package of measures to stave off the destruction of both jobs and infrastructure . The union is also continuing to lobby politicians for incentives to allow exploration, maintenance, safety and engineering development works to take place during this emergency period for the industry.”

David Hulse, GMB National Officer and chair of the Offshore Contractors Association Agreement, said: “GMB is asking contractors and clients in the North Sea oil and gas industry to hold off from making fundamental decisions affecting the long-term future of this industry until we have all had a proper chance to assess the current situation and what needs to be done including action by UK and Scottish governments.

“We do not want decisions made on the hoof that could have long-term implications. We hope to be clearer after tomorrow’s meeting”.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.
Author avatar

Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

Read All Articles

Related Articles

Fri Jul 2014 /

#ISS14: Organising Informal and Precarious Workers

Panel debate between organisers of informal and precarious workers, led by questions from the floor. – Myrtle Witbooi, International Domestic Workers’ Federation – Jin Sook Lee, Building & Woodworkers International – Yoana Georgieva, Bulgaria Home-Based Workers’ Association – Kendall Fells, US Fast Food Campaign Reading list R. Munck (2012) – Trade Unions and Internationalism  ILO (2011) M. […]

Read More