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EnQuest cuts one quarter of Sullom Voe terminal workforce

A ship waits for a refill at Sullom Voe terminal in Shetland - Image credit: Flickr Ronnie Robertson

EnQuest cuts one quarter of Sullom Voe terminal workforce

Unions and politicians have expressed concern today over news the workforce at Sullom Voe oil and gas terminal in Shetland will be cut by one quarter.

The terminal’s owner EnQuest announced 80 jobs will be slashed, 60 full time and 20 contractor positions, with consultations beginning July 23, the union representing Sullom Voe workers, Unite, said.

The news comes as Enquest is in talks with BP to continue exporting oil from the Clair Field west of Shetland and to stop oil potentially bypassing the terminal. EnQuest officially took over the terminal in December 2017, ending BP’s association.

Unite said the company had proposed to renegotiate existing terms and conditions of the workforce to remained “commercially competitive”, with an aim to have the changes in place by January 2020.

Unite regional industrial officer John Clark said there was “utter dismay and bemusement” among workers after EnQuest’s announcement.  

“The sheer scale of the possible redundancies, which includes 60 full time employees and 20 contractors has taken everyone by surprise,” Clark said.

“To add insult to injury, EnQuest is also proposing to weaken the existing terms and conditions of the workforce. Unite will not stand idly by and allow jobs to be sacrificed to facilitate a competitive edge for other projects. We will explore every option including balloting our members for industrial action.”

Orkney and Shetland Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael said the news was disappointing but “not altogether unexpected”.

“The unions and the company must now work together in the best interests of the workers, their families, and the community more widely. This process must be handled as sensitively as possible,” Carmichael said.

“As ever, my door is always open to anyone who has concerns, and they should have no hesitations in getting in touch with my office in Lerwick.”

Scottish Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald said proposals to bypass the terminal was “are already costing jobs in the local community and British-based operators like BP must recognise their social and economic responsibilities”.

“This is yet another example of big business pocketing profits from natural resources whilst local people lose out,” Macdonald said.

“Oil and gas produced in the waters off Shetland has been processed at Sullom Voe for years and has supported hundreds of jobs in the process.

“Companies which make money from natural resources west of Shetland have a responsibility to ensure that the people of Shetland share in their success and securing jobs at Sullom Voe is the least they can do.”

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