Centrica aims "to protect jobs" as British Gas strike starts
Centrica maintains it is in "urgent need of change" and introducing new terms and conditions to protect jobs and maintain a highly skilled teams of engineers, as GMB members at British Gas embarked on a national five-day strike today.
GMB conducted a strike ballot of 9,000 members in December 2020 in which it claims 89 percent voted in favour of industrial action, in response to 'fire and rehire’ cuts - a figure contested by Centrica, which reports it was 52 percent. Various pickets are planned across the country, in line with Government guidance.
In a statement, Centrica said 83 percent of its workforce has already accepted new terms, in which base pay and pensions are protected.
A Centrica spokesperson said: "We’ve done everything we can with the GMB to avoid industrial action. Whilst we’ve made great progress with our other unions, sadly the GMB leadership seems intent on causing disruption to customers during the coldest weekend of the year, amid a global health crisis and in the middle of a national lockdown.
"We have strong contingency plans in place to ensure we will still be there for customers who really need us, and we’ll prioritise vulnerable households and emergencies.
"GMB’s mandate for strike action is weak; they are fighting against modernisation and changes which will help to protect well paid jobs in the long term and are doing so at a time that our country needs everyone to pull together."
Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary said British Gas boss Chris O’Shea’s attempts to "bully workers" into accepting cuts to their pay and terms and conditions has provoked this inevitable outcome – massive disruption to customers in the depths of winter and "a stain on the reputation of an historic company and brand".
"GMB is calling on the public to ask why British Gas CEO Mr O’Shea is provoking an engineers’ strike with ‘fire and rehire’ pay cuts, in the depths of winter. This is against the backdrop of the company reporting operating profits of £901m in the latest available annual accounts."
Centrica completed the sale of its North American energy supply, services and trading business, Direct Energy, to NRG Energy Inc. for $3.625bn this week.
Chris O’Shea, Centrica Group Chief Executive, said: "This sale is an important step in the turnaround of Centrica, allowing us to materially strengthen our balance sheet and become a more focused energy services and solutions company – putting customers at the heart of everything we do and helping them transition to a lower carbon future."
Global Offshore rebrands Enelift and invests in global hubs
Global Offshore has rebranded Enelift and will invest "a seven-figure sum" in establishing new support hubs in Houston, Dubai, Singapore, Perth and the Caspian during the next six months.
The investment will cover oil, gas and renewables, mainly concentrating on manufacturing capability with associated R&D, as well as in stock held in the hubs.
The company’s flagship Hinge Lok technology provides aluminium, non-welded light weight transportation cradle for casing and tubing. Enelift now plans to enhance its offering by augmenting its existing solutions with robotics and remote operational and training technology, which will reduce manpower for handling offshore equipment that is transported and stored using the Hinge Lok system.
Enelift is partnering with "a Japanese robotics company" and the technology will be trialed with "a Norwegian operator on a Norwegian drilling rig", according to a statement.
Operating from its bases in Aberdeen, UK and Esbjerg, Enelift was founded by 35-year industry veteran and Managing Director Paul Brebner 10 years ago to offer the offshore energy industries safe, reliable and efficient storage and transportation of equipment.
The expansion plans are bolstered by the appointment of Jim Clark of the Craigendarroch Group to Chairman, and Adam Maitland to Non-Executive Director. Maitland is the Managing Director of Hutcheon Mearns IF, and brings his wealth of expertise in the field of corporate finance.
Brebner said Enelift may be a new name in the market, but the experience it brings is "industry renowned".
"Our solutions are underpinned by safety that enables inefficiencies and their associated costs to be eradicated – meaning operational personnel can focus doing what they do best, safely. We remain committed to providing the safest storage and transportation solutions for equipment in the sector as we grow our global operations," he said.
Clark said the market is changing and its solutions fully support customers’ economic and safety aspirations.
"We are very well placed to take full advantage of increasing opportunities in the Middle East, Africa, Far East and Americas. Safety is our absolute commitment to our customers and our support hubs will facilitate this. Aligning our identity to our entire offering ensures that we will drive our expansion through new products and global support sites across the rest of this year."