The threat to 600 manufacturing jobs at OneSubsea, the Leeds oil and gas engineering firm, reinforces the need for a strong industrial strategy to protect such skilled jobs, UK’s biggest trade union Unite has said.
Unite said the news that the Houston-based multinational wanted to shed 600 of its 900-strong workforce by the end of 2017 had come ‘out of the blue’. The company makes large-scale infrastructure for the oil industry.
The union said that the company had blamed the downturn in the oil price which, in turn, had adversely impacted on oil exploration for the proposed job losses. Unite, which has 300 production members at the firm, said that it had an initial meeting with management on Thursday and more meetings were scheduled for next week.
“This is appalling news that came out of the blue,” said Unite regional officer Chris Daly. “We knew that there was a downturn in the oil price, but we had no inkling about the scale of such job losses.
“This is a devastating blow for the workers and their families and, more widely, it will have an adverse effect on the Yorkshire economy – these are skilled jobs that we can’t afford to lose as a manufacturing nation.
“This sad news reinforces the case that the government’s much-vaunted industrial strategy really needs to develop teeth quickly to protect such prized manufacturing jobs,” he added.
“Unite’s goal in the days and weeks ahead is to make the case to mitigate the job losses envisaged at OneSubsea and offer our members the maximum support at this difficult and worrying time.”
Unite understands that while manufacturing will cease at the end of 2017, 300 other staff will remain to provide office support.