BP is to cut 10,000 jobs from its global workforce of 70,000 – with a third of senior management roles facing the axe.
The economic impact of the pandemic is being blamed, with most of the redundancies set to take place by the end of the year.
And although the UK oil giant said the cuts were part of plans to reduce costs by $2.5bn (circa £1.9bn) for the new financial year, it warned that deeper cuts were likely.
The news comes just weeks after BP increased its dividend to shareholders.
Chief executive Bernard Looney emailed staff to say: ‘The majority of people affected will be in office-based jobs.
‘We are protecting the frontline of the company and, as always, prioritising safe and reliable operations.’
The cuts mean the size of its workforce will slashed by 14 per cent.
As part of the plans, group leaders and senior level leaders won’t have any pay rises until March 2021 at the earliest, nor will there be a cash bonus this year.
Looney, who replaced Bob Dudley as CEO in February, said the pandemic and a recent drop in the price of oil meant spending had to be slashed.
‘The oil price has plunged well below the level we need to turn a profit. We are spending much, much more than we make – I am talking millions of dollars, every day.
‘And as a result, our net debt rose by six billion US dollars [circa £4.7bn] in the first quarter,’ he said.
Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT union, which represents offshore workers, said: ‘RMT and the offshore unions have been warning the government for months of the need for an urgent plan to protect offshore jobs and skills from the double whammy of coronavirus and depressed oil prices.
‘An offshore jobs taskforce needs to be appointed immediately, including the trade unions, to prevent this catastrophic loss of jobs and skills to the national economy.’
When he took over the job, Looney vowed that BP would be emissions-neutral by the middle of the century.
Mel Evans, senior climate campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said: ‘Job losses on this scale are shocking and our hearts go out to the staff who’ll lose their livelihoods at a time which already brings so much uncertainty.
‘Responding to climate change means Mr Looney must take the pivot to renewable energy seriously.
‘Workers across BP’s business should be supported to shape the transition to renewables with skills and training packages.’
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