Workers from Schlumberger’s production facility in Newtownabbey will raise their concerns directly with local political leaders at an event organised by Unite the union.
December 6th: Under corporate management plans, Schlumberger’s site in Northern Ireland is scheduled for closure by the end of June 2018 with the loss of 203 jobs. The work done onsite will be moved offshore to Mexico, China or repatriated to their US headquarters in Houston, Texas.
Schlumberger global corporate management claims the closure is necessary to deal with the downturn in the oil and gas industry; however, the industry has been showing clear signs of recovery over the past year; indeed Schlumberger’s before tax profits were $545 million for the third quarter of 2017. The company has failed to invest in the Newtownabbey site and are now using that lack of investment as justification for a closure to cut global operating costs by $30.9 million a year. At the same time, Schlumberger is now a couple of years into a ten-year share buy-back initiative which will see $10 billion ‘invested’ in raising share prices and dividends for shareholders.
Efforts are continuing by both Unite the union and local management to bring forward a counter-proposal to avert closure but half-way through a ninety-day consultation period on the proposed closure, Schlumberger global corporate management has refused to provide financial information underpinning their decision; to accommodate an independent assessment of the rationale for closure and options short of closure; to allow their Director for Corporate Responsibility to engage with representatives of the workforce; or to extend the timeframe for closure in order to allow more opportunity to find third party clients or potential buyers for the facility.
Members of the workforce will be present to raise their concerns and question senior local politicians on efforts to safeguard jobs and skills at the site. The event will be fully open to the media starting at 5pm. All local councillors, constituency MLAs, MEPs and the local MP have been invited and the upper table will accommodate participating MLAs, MEPs and the MP.