30/10/2017

Union To Hold Meeting With Schlumberger Staff

Unite the union is to hold a mass meeting with staff from Schlumberger over the proposed closure of the manufacturing plant in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim.

Over 200 jobs are to be lost if the plans go-ahead.

The firm said there was an ongoing slump in the sector.

Jackie Pollock, Unite Regional Secretary designate, 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.
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"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 twelve 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. In 2013 they commenced a six-year long $10 billion share buy-back scheme designed to enrich share-holders: earnings per share have risen from $0.25 to $0.42 in the last year alone.

"This is a company who are 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."

(CD/LM)

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