9 April, 2020 IndustriALL Global Union has contacted its affiliated unions with members in the oil sector, to map how the industry and its unions are responding to the coronavirus crisis.
In most countries, the oil industry is considered a core sector, and is not subject to imposed shutdowns. However, the global lockdown and consequent fall in economic activity has drastically reduced demand.
There has also been a dramatic fall in the oil price, both as a consequence of falling demand, and unrelated geopolitical tension. However, oil prices fluctuate and it will take several months before the effect on employment is known.
IndustriALL wrote to all companies that it has global framework agreements with, calling on them to work with unions to protect the health, safety, jobs and income of workers. ENI and Equinor replied, outlining their response to the crisis and committing to working with their unions.
There are significant differences from region to region and between companies, but overall, there are two distinct trends from oil companies:
- Oil companies have maintained production and protected core staff, sometimes with generous allowances for working in difficult situations. However, they have terminated relationships with contractors. Given that 82 per cent of work in the sector is carried out by a contracted workforce, this is having a devastating effect, as many have lost their income.
- Generally, decisions have been taken without consulting unions.
One exception is Norway, where a national agreement was reached between unions and employer organizations through the existing KonKraft framework to prevent permanent layoffs by maintaining activity. Strategies to solve temporary layoffs include enhanced research and development.