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Oil and gas staff to be balloted over fire and rehire in Scotland

WORKERS at a multinational oil and gas giant are set to be formally balloted for industrial action over bosses’ use of fire and rehire to “lay waste to Scottish jobs,” Unite announced today.

The union accused US firm Baker Hughes, one of the world’s biggest oil field services companies, of giving staff at its Angus sites just five minutes’ notice before recently issuing redundancy notices.

The employees were then told that they had until early August to sign new contracts on vastly inferior rates of pay or lose their jobs, according to Unite.

The detrimental contractual changes include plans to slash shift and overtime rates by up to half, potentially cutting staff annual income by £10,500, warned the union.

This was despite the extremely profitable company receiving orders worth £5.6 billion in the first quarter of this year alone, it said. 

The union’s industrial officer George Ramsay stressed that the “shameful behaviour has totally enraged workers who are determined to fight against these detrimental cuts to their pay and conditions. 

“Workers are facing annual salary cuts of around a third — this is horrific at any given time, never mind when workers are facing the worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation.

“Baker Hughes is treating its entire workforce with utter contempt. The company needs to step back from the brink; if they do not, then they will have one hell of a fight on their hands.”

More than 93 per cent of the unionised workforce backed industrial action in a recent consultative ballot, Unite said. 

The firm, contacted for comment, is one of the largest employers in Angus, operating two sites at Montrose in the north of the county. 

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