BP job losses: Oil giant to brief 15,000 UK employees on staff cuts and 'restructuring' plans

Unions warn of 'damage to the very core of our offshore industry'

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The Independent Online

Staff at the UK-based international oil giant BP have been warned to expect news of job losses during a briefing in Aberdeen today.

The company said last month that falling oil prices would force it to put in place “restructuring” measures, and will today put forward details of how this is likely to affect jobs.

BP has around 15,000 employees in the UK, among a total of 84,000 worldwide. It said last month that the focus of any job losses would likely be on head office and back office roles, rather than front-line operations.

Union officials have called on the Government to take action to prevent what RMT described as “damage to the very core of our offshore industry”.

Mick Cash, the union’s general secretary, said the expected BP announcement “confirms the RMT warning that tens of thousands of jobs in the industry are at stake”.

Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, is to meet oil and gas industry officials in Scotland later today.

“Warm words from Ed Davey have to be matched by sharp and decisive action,” Mr Cash said.

“If immediate action isn't taken then we risk turning today's crisis into longer term damage that would threaten the very core of our offshore industry. This is no time for playing politics when the security of UK energy supplies is on the line.”

BP said 2015 will see it streamline operations at a cost of one billion US dollars (£638 million), a continuation of the downsizing that began following the Gulf of Mexico disaster in 2010.

David Hulse, national officer at the GMB union, said: “We are asking contractors in the North Sea to hold off from making fundamental decisions affecting the long-term future of this industry until we have all had a proper chance to assess the situation.

“We do not want decisions made on the hoof that could have long-term implications.”