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Resources companies sacked 3000 workers in 12 months says report

Shell workers
Shell workers

Multinational oil and gas producers retrenched thousands of staff from their national workforce during the first year of the pandemic, a research institute found.

Chevron, ExxonMobil, INPEX, Oil Search, Origin Energy, Santos, Shell and Woodside Energy laid off an estimated 3000 Australian employees between December 2019 and November 2020. The total represents 10.5 per cent of the entire national oil and gas workforce according to the Australia Institute’s latest report, “When the going gets tough … the gas industry sacks workers”.

11,400 jobs disappear

On an international scale the total number of known redundancies reached a staggering 11,465.

The following is a detailed breakdown:

  • Chevron: 410 including 180 voluntary and 230 forced, representing 25 per cent of its Australian workforce
  • ExxonMobil: 1500 employees offered redundancies with at least 150 job cuts
  • INPEX: 465
  • Oil Search: 25 percent reduction to Australian workforce
  • Origin: 90 representing 10 percent of the company’s integrated gas business
  • Santos: 150
  • Shell: 9000 globally without confirmation on how many were in Australia
  • Woodside: 1200.

‘Resilient’ sector

The institute found the widespread layoffs surprising since a recent Ernst & Young report claimed throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) the oil and gas sector had performed relatively better than arts, recreation, tourism and education.

“Australia’s oil and gas businesses have been remarkably resilient. The industry, despite trying external conditions, increased production in 2019-20 by 10 per cent from the previous year, with the value of production exceeding $82 billion,” it said in the report.

“Despite being ‘prime movers’ and ‘remarkably resilient’, not to mention record export volumes in 2020, the oil and gas industry appears to have fired workers at a rate far greater than the rest of the economy.”

Employers take subsidy and run

The industry wide drop in employment was also despite the $300 million subsidy the federal government offered through the JobMaker program in September 2020.

“To help fire our economic recovery, the next plank in our JobMaker plan is to deliver more Australian gas where it is needed at an internationally competitive price,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a public statement.

“We will work with industry to deliver a gas hub for Australia that will ensure households and businesses enjoy the benefits of our abundant local gas while we hold our position as one of the top global liquefied natural gas exporters.”

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Click here to read the full report.

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