Workforce closure protest planned at Schlumberger site

Closure unjustifiable
Closure unjustifiable

Recent indications of growth in the oil and gas sector makes closure of the Schlumberger R&D site at Newtownabbey unjustifiable Unite the uinion has claimed.

Commenting ahead of a mass meeting at the site this morning, Unite Regional Secretary designate Jackie Pollock said he would challenge Schlumberger on the justification that they have offered for their proposal to close the Newtownabbey production site given the signs that the oil and gas industry are set to enjoy a recovery:

“Last week corporate management in Schlumberger announced their intent to close their Newtownabbey production facility with the loss of more than two hundred jobs,” he said.

“When pressed, Schlumberger management indicated that the work currently conducted in Northern Ireland would be off-shored to China, Mexico or the United States. The former two locations are renowned for their exploitative wage rates – the latter may reflect the priorities of a corporate management team who share the ‘America First’ perspective propounded by the current protectionist administration in power in Washington.

“The reality is that far from suffering increased financial pressures from a continued downturn there are signs of pick-up in the numbers of oil rigs globally. The Baker-Hughes rig count indicates that the total number has surged to 2,026 globally – an increase of 416 over the past year.

“Meanwhile Schlumberger has reported huge profits. In the third quarter of 2017 alone they reported a net income of $545 million and their pre-tax operating margin has grown from 11.6% to 13.4% in the 12 months to September 2017.

“This is not a company under pressure but one making considerable surpluses.

“Instead of investing that economic surplus or showing corporate responsibility to their workers they have chosen to prioritise the buy-back of their own shares to the benefit of their shareholders.

“This is a company which is looking to further increase profits at the cost of workers. Unite rejects the logic of their proposal to close Newtownabbey and is already in discussions to put forward an alternative proposal to management,” Mr Pollock said.