Over 100 workers at a billion-pound US oil and gas giant have walked out over claims of “fire and rehire” tactics that saw staff given just five minutes notice that they were losing their jobs.
Baker Hughes was accused of “laying waste to Scottish jobs” over the decision at their sites in Angus earlier this summer after it was demanded staff take a pay cut of over £10,000 and sign new contracts by early August.
Furious workers voted for strike action by an 87.3% margin after the move, with action planned until the morning of September 14.
A series of further 48-hour stoppages are also scheduled to take place before November 16, Unite has announced.
The union’s industrial officer, George Ramsay, 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.”
The firm employs more than 250 staff across two sites in Montrose following a recent £31m investment to develop state-of-the-art manufacturing and engineering processes, such as industrial 3D printing and virtual reality tools, for the oil and gas industry.
The creation of the subsea centre of excellence in 2019 where the company is based was developed following a £4.9m Scottish Enterprise grant.
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.”