Baker Hughes Avoids Another Round of Layoffs by Using Furloughs

cutting jobsWe’ve long bemoaned the fact that the first tactic used by oil and gas companies to stay in business during this severe downturn has been to layoff large numbers of employees. We understand all the arguments: better to cut some rather than go bankrupt and out of business, putting everyone at the company in the unemployment line. We also understand many of these same companies added large numbers of people over the past half decade in the rapid scale-up to handle all of the new shale drilling–so this is simply a “correction” or rebalancing. But tell that to someone who has lost his or her job and the families affected by it. “Hey, you’ve been made redundant” (as our British friends call it). Or, “You’re just a correction.” No, our sympathies are with the men and women who have been laid off and suffer. Some of the biggest layoffs have come from oilfield services companies, like Halliburton and Baker Hughes–both with major operations in the Marcellus/Utica. Tens of thousands have been laid off at each company over the past two years or so. In July Baker Hughes laid off another 3,000 in fell swoop (see Baker Hughes Laid Off 3K in 2Q16, No Drilling Recovery in 2016). It’s been an employment apocalypse. We spotted a story that may offer some hope, and an idea, for companies in o&g pondering yet more layoffs. Instead of laying off yet more people at Baker Hughes, the company has just announced they are using furloughs to cut employee payments by 5%…

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