Baker Hughes strike action amid fire and rehire claims

Unite the union members working for US oil and gas giant, Baker Hughes, started strike action on Monday (29 August) in a dispute over fire and rehire tactics. 

Around 110 workers are taking strike action with Unite accusing the multi-billion pound company of `laying waste to Scottish jobs’.

Unite estimates that detrimental contractual changes could wipe off up to 29 per cent from the annual wages of Baker Hughes workers. The equivalent to a £10,500 drop in annual income.

Unite members voted for strike action by 87.3 per cent on an 87.5% per cent turnout to defend their jobs, terms and conditions.

The all-out strike action will last until the morning of 14 September with a series of 48-hour stoppages taking place until 16 November.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The proposal to cut our members’ pay by over £10,000 through fire and rehire tactics is a new low for an industry plagued by corporate greed. Our members are simply not prepared to accept this and throughout the strike action they will have Unite’s full support in their fight to protect their jobs, pay and conditions.” 

In June, Baker Hughes gave workers at their Angus sites five minutes’ notice before issuing redundancy notices. The company told the workers that they have until early August to sign new contracts on vastly inferior rates of pay or face losing their jobs.

Baker Hughes, one of the largest employers in Angus, operates two sites in Montrose, at Charleton Road and Forties Industrial Estate on Brent Avenue.

The company employs around 250 workers who pioneer state-of-the-art manufacturing and engineering processes, such as industrial 3D printing and virtual reality tools, for the oil and gas industry. 

It has one of the most advanced facilities of its kind after a recent £31m investment. The creation of the subsea centre of excellence in 2019 where the company is based was developed following a £4.9m Scottish Enterprise grant. 

George Ramsay, Unite industrial officer said: “Unite’s members are outraged and they are prepared to take strike action right into the winter to defend their pay.  It is completely unacceptable that our members could lose up to a third of their income during the worst cost of living crisis in a generation. We are determined to fight this corporate bully and our strike action will continue until we win.”