Kvaerner Could Cut UK Positions

Employees at Kvaerner in Aberdeen received word that as many as 106 positions could be eliminated. A 90-day consultation period with unions has started on the possible 106 job losses - threatening about half the workforce at the firm, part of Aker Kvaerner.

Some are seeing this as the first sign of the impact of the Government's new North Sea oil and gas tax.

Paul Emberley, a spokesman for Aker Kvaerner, said the proposed redundancies were across the board - from projects and engineering departments to service support and procurement - and blamed the move on an industry downturn. "This is due to our workload for September," he said. "It's going to reduce significantly for some time. It's just a question of winning orders and the order book has not been as robust as we hoped it would be." But Mr. Emberley said volunteers for redundancy would be sought and attempts made to find the employees work in other parts of the business.

Aker Kvaerner has 18,000 employees in 17 countries and on five continents. Aberdeen is home to a further four Aker Kvaerner companies - Aker Kvaerner Modifications Maintenance and Operations (MMO), Kvaerner Eureka, Kvaerner Process Systems, and Aker Maritime Hydraulics. Of the 2,000 Aker Kvaerner personnel in Aberdeen, 1,500 are employed by MMO.

Mr. Emberley said there will not be any workforce reductions at any of the other divisions and maintained that Aberdeen was still a very important location for Aker Kvaerner. "We intend to stay there. It is the oil capital of Britain," he added.