Union 'disgust' as offshore oil services firm Archer to axe more than 130 jobs in North Sea operation

Union bosses say they are “disgusted” with plans by a global offshore oil services firm to axe more than 130 jobs from its North Sea operation.

Boats and oil rig supply vessels in Aberdeen Harbour.
Boats and oil rig supply vessels in Aberdeen Harbour.

Unite Scotland says Norway-based Archer Drillers made the decision despite repeated efforts to convince them to use the UK Government Job Retention Scheme to furlough the workers. The scheme involves workers being paid 80 per cent of wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per month, effective from March 1st for a three-month period.

The proposed redundancies will affect the Alba and Captain installations that are operated by Ithaca, and the Claymore Alpha, Piper Bravo and Roving Crew, which are all operated by Repsol.

Unite say they will continue to push Archer Drillers to reverse this decision on all redundancies, and the trade union will now explore all legal options including the possibility of lodging unfair dismissal cases on behalf of the workers.

Unite regional officer, Shauna Wright, said: “Unite Scotland has been informed that Archer has shamefully decided not to utilise the government retention scheme for their workers. The company is looking to axe over 130 jobs through redundancy which is a devastating blow to a highly skilled workforce.

“We urge Archer to reverse this disgusting decision and to immediately look at how the government scheme can be used to support the workers during this difficult time by delaying the redundancies.

“If they don’t do the right thing then Unite will consider all actions in order to support the workforce including the possibility of lodging unfair dismissal cases on their behalf.”

Archer has been contacted by email for comment, after a member of staff at Archer’s UK-based office near Aberdeen was unable to do so.

The company, which was formed in 2011, operates in 40 locations providing drilling services, well integrity and intervention, plug and abandonment and decommissioning to its upstream oil and gas clients.

Archer’s drilling teams secure production on more than 45 offshore platforms across four continents.