Schlumberger is braced for a protest this week from workers looking to salvage jobs at a Paragon Offshore office following the takeover by Borr Drilling, in which the oilfield services giant has a significant stake.
A delegation of employees from the Paragon office in Beverwijk, the Netherlands and members of the Nautilus International maritime union have vowed to descend on Schlumberger’s office in The Hague this Thursday to urge the company to force Borr to stop what Nautilus has called “social dumping”.
The latest action follows on from recent protests by staff and unions at Borr’s offices in Aberdeen and Oslo against the closure or part-closure of the Beverwijk office, which may result in as many as 70 offshore and offshore job losses.
“Borr Drilling refuses to conclude a good social plan with the trade union. Paragon employees have therefore rejected the employer’s last offer en masse and demand a good social plan,” Nautilus said of the planned action to be held on Thursday between noon and 2pm local time.
The Nautilus-led protest, which also has the support of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) in the Netherlands as well as other unions, will also seek a meeting with a senior Schlumberger official in The Hague on Thursday.
Upstream awaits a response for comment at Schlumberger’s office in the Dutch capital, where a spokesperson was unaware on Tuesday of any planned protest.
Schlumberger is the largest shareholder in Oslo-listed Borr, with a current stake of 14.2%, having initially bought in not long after the company formed.
Nautilus official Bert Klein said: “We have been talking to Borr since May, and our efforts are focused on preventing dismissals. If redundancies cannot be avoided, as it seems now, the objective is to secure a social plan that must at least comply with what is normally agreed in the Netherlands.
“This means clearly more than just the legally-regulated transition payment.
“A company that wants to present itself as a world player, in our opinion, should also adopt that attitude when it comes to parting with employees.”
Nautilus has accused Borr of “social dumping”, which it says is a policy from Borr and others of employing low-paid foreign workers on short-term contracts.
“A company that recently invested more than $1 billion cannot offer a good social plan - that could be agreed with comparable companies in the Netherlands - because it does not have sufficient resources? That is too crazy for words!” Klein continued.
The Paragon workers and unions appear to have had little success in dealing directly with Borr on the issue, despite numerous conversations and two protests.
“Borr Drilling’s response has so far been ‘not home’,” Nautilus said of the lack of progress on the issue with the jack-up owner.
Borr has twice not responded to Upstream’s request for comment on the issue of the Paragon protests.
Borr shot to prominence after agreeing to buy Transocean’s entire fleet of jack-ups, before going on to seal numerous other small and large asset deals, largely for resales of units at Asian yards.
In mid-May the company struck a deal with Keppel Offshore & Marine worth $745 million to buy five jack-up rigs that were ordered by other companies at the Singapore-based yard.