Talks to “limit social damage” at SBM Offshore

A restructuring plan by Single Buoy Moorings Offshore (SBM Offshore) in June has raised fears amongst employees that jobs will be cut. Talks are now underway between staff representatives and management to come up with a feasible solution.

First Monacair, now SBM Offshore. The company that specialises in oil extraction solutions announced a restructuring plan in June that instantly put thousands of employees around the world on alert.  

“It is with deep regret that I must say that a reduction of positions is inevitable (…) This is what is needed to ensure the survival of the company in the long term,” wrote Bruno Chabas, the then CEO of SBM Offshore, in a letter dated 24th June.

The Monaco branch, which is in Fontvieille, has almost 1,000 employees, 180 of which may become redundant in the coming months, according to a report in Monaco Matin.

“Constantly having to adapt is nothing new for the oil and gas industry. But the conjunction of exceptional events in recent months – the Covid-19 health crisis and the OPEC-Russia situation – has had unprecedented consequences for the energy market,” SBM Offshore’s communications department said by way of justification in a company-wide email. “This requires an acceleration of our transformation in order to remain competitive in a context where many major projects are postponed or cancelled by the major oil companies, including our customers.”

Unions are now suggesting several avenues, of which the company has been open-minded to hearing. Both sides are looking first at voluntary departures and reassignments while information sessions have been launched to allow a dialogue between reps and employees so that their questions can be asked and answered in due course.

The staff, for their part, have banded together saying they are ready to adapt in order to preserve employment, thus giving both sides the leeway they will need to come to the best possible solution for all.

“In addition to the ideas for the development and adaptation of industrial activity, the suggestions presented testify to a great solidarity and a great sense of the collective,” said Maître Delphine Frahi, attorney for the staff representatives, to Monaco Matin. “One of the proposals overwhelmingly relayed by the staff consists of a temporary reduction in remuneration at all levels. It has also been proposed to use more teleworking to free up, at least temporarily, certain premises which are currently under-occupied. They have also been shown to be in favour of part-time work, even sabbaticals, to give the time to allow the group to have more visibility.”

As for management, the forecasts they are projecting run to the conservative, meaning that the actualities in the coming months may not be as dire as predicted, but only time will show the reality.