A taskforce formed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to deal with job losses in the North Sea will meet every month, it was announced yesterday.
Industry and public sector leaders met with taskforce chairwoman Lena Wilson in a secret meeting at Aberdeen’s Ardoe House hotel yesterday to discuss job cuts that could affect thousands of North Sea workers.
The location of the meeting was kept hushed in an effort to ensure the proceedings remained private. The Scottish Government has not revealed who the members of the task force panel are, although a list of companies including BP, Aker, Petrofac and Wood Group are said to have provided representatives.
Jake Molloy, the regional organiser for the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) attended the event. He said the first meeting got “the ball rolling”.
He said: “It is positive that all the players are in the same room sharing and exchanging some frank and honest views on how we can work collaboratively to the benefit of the sector, the industry, the economy and – most importantly from our perspective – the benefit of workers.
“The ball is rolling and talks between the various parties will continue between meetings to see if we can find areas we can exploit to minimise the impact of the downturn.”
In a statement, the Scottish Government said the group’s first move would be to hold a “large scale” event in Aberdeen for workers facing redundancy.
The event, led by the Scottish Government’s Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (Pace) initiative, will be held “soon”, the government said.
It will bring together organisations that provide advice and support for those facing redundancy and will include advice ranging from further training and learning, to starting up their own businesses, it added.
The government said that a “range of ideas were considered” and that “immediate action will be taken to translate this into tangible outcomes”.
Last week, around 300 job losses were announced at Talisman Sinopec’s base in the north east.
BP and other companies have already announced similar job losses, pay cuts and freezes as the low price of oil continues to hit the industry.
Ms Wilson, who is chief executive of economic development agency, Scottish Enterprise, said there was an “overwhelming sense of determination and collaboration” shown by the members of the taskforce.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said he was confident that the outcomes of the taskforce will provide “tangible help to those facing redundancy”.
He added: “There is a real risk that the current fall in the oil price will lead to the premature decommissioning of assets and the loss of highly skilled workers. The Scottish Government, along with public sector partners, industry representative and commercial companies are doing what we can.”