China's CNPC To Relocate HQ Staff, Not Layoff
BEIJING, Dec 16 (Reuters) - China National Petroleum Company's plan to trim staff at its Beijing headquarters was about relocating jobs instead of real layoffs, a company spokesperson and an independent board director said on Friday.
CNPC, China's top oil and gas group, said on Tuesday on its social media blog it planned to cut staff at its headquarters by 20 percent, first among the state energy giants to announce a reduction plan amid a 2-1/2-year oil price rout.
CNPC did not specify in the blog how many jobs will be affected. Approximately 3,000 people work at the group's Beijing headquarters, according to estimate by a senior CNPC official.
But rather than real job cuts like ones implemented by global energy peers to bring down costs, the Chinese state group will move jobs from its headquarters to specialized business operations, including a financial firm and an oil services company, company officials said.
"CNPC has not made any job cuts at worse times when oil prices were much lower. Why should they cut now with oil price recovering?" said Lin Boqiang, an independent board director at PetroChina, CNPC's flagship listed vehicle.
"Barely anyone will lose jobs. Our headquarters staff are well-trained professionals who can easily fit in jobs at business units," a company spokesman said.
China's state energy sector has in the past few years undergone major restructuring to become more efficient and competitive, selling stakes at pipeline and fuel retail businesses and listing non-core units.
Companies like PetroChina and Sinopec have also carried out widespread pay cuts to reduce costs as earnings sank, but none of them has made any major job cuts due to management worries about social stability.
(Reporting by Chen Aizhu; Editing by Tom Hogue)
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