Schlumberger decision to close Newtownabbey site with 205 job losses shows shareholder benefits trumps social responsibility


sf imageLocal site management counterproposal rejected despite offering path forward to sustain production and deliver genuine efficiencies

Union reps to meet tomorrow to decide next steps in response to rejection of rescue bid

February 6th: Susan Fitzgerald, Unite Regional Officer for Schlumberger condemned the confirmation Fby Schlumberger corporate management that they would reject a management rescue bid and proceed to close their Newtownabbey site:

 “This decision demonstrates very clearly that corporate profits are the only determinant when it comes to Schlumberger corporate management. Today they confirmed to workforce  representatives that they had rejected a local management counterproposal which offered a way to save some of the jobs on site through production diversification. The proposal would have resulted in a significant increase in operating utilisation rates but was rejected by a corporate management who remain intent on offshoring production to low cost centres in Mexico and China and back to the United States.

“Regardless of the huge profits that they have made from this workforce Schlumberger’s sole objective appears to maximise profits through a race to the bottom on Labour costs. Mexico and China are renowned for their exploitative wage rates and we ask whether the corporate management team have been motivated by the ‘America First’ perspective propounded by Washington.

“Their overall justification for the closure has been surplus capacity as a result of a downturn in the oil and gas sector but the signs of pick-up is now undeniable. The Baker-Hughes rig count indicates that the total number of oil rigs has surged to 2,026 globally – an increase of 416 over the past year.

“This is all about increasing profits for shareholders. In the third quarter of 2017 alone Schlumberger reported a net income of $545 million – but this is not enough for them. Earnings per share have risen from $0.25 to $0.42 in the last year reflecting a corporate decision to prioritise shareholders over investment for the future when in 2013 they launched a six-year $10 billion share buy-back scheme.

“This is not a company under pressure but one making huge profits. Today in summarily rejecting the proposal and proceeding with their plans to close the plant, they have demonstrated clearly that the interests of shareholders trumps any semblance of corporate responsibility.

“Unite will be meeting with our representatives from the plant tomorrow morning to decide our response to this decision”, Ms Fitzgerald said.

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