Por Dmitry Zhdannikov y Ron Bousso
LONDON, Oct 16 (Reuters) – BP is poised to make the layoffs of 7,500 mandatory after 2,500 workers – just one in 10 employees qualified for the program – folded to offers of voluntary leave, according to an internal memo to the who had access to Reuters and sources from the British company.
The oil company announced plans in June to lay off nearly 15% of its 70,000 workers as part of Chief Executive Bernard Looney’s strategy to cut costs and “reinvent” the business for a low-carbon future.
Most of the layoffs will come from office staff at BP’s central oil and gas exploration and production division, where thousands of engineers, geologists and scientists will leave the firm. They will not affect front-line production facilities.
A BP spokesperson confirmed the number of voluntary layoffs.
“We continue to move towards the full definition of our new organization … We hope that the process will be completed and that all staff will know their positions in the coming months,” BP said in a statement.
The oil industry is facing one of the largest crises in its history, with oil demand and prices collapsing due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pressure from activists and investors to help combat climate change.
In an internal memo this week, BP said that of the 23,600 people eligible for voluntary dismissal, about 2,500 had applied, including about 500 people in positions of responsibility.
“This means that about a quarter of the downsizing that Bernard described in June will be voluntary,” the memo said.
“We know that for some people, for various reasons, they feel that now is the right time to leave BP, but for many others it remains an even more difficult decision,” the memo said.
(Reports by Dmitry Zhdannikov and Ron Bousso. Edited in Spanish by Marion Giraldo)