Bosses at US oilfield equipment firm Dril-Quip have claimed Aberdeen has a “whinge and whine culture” in a shocking, leaked video.
Disparaging comments about Aberdeen workers were made during a conference call between Dril-Quip chief executive Blake DeBerry, senior vice president Jeff Bird and chief HR officer Mahesh Puducheri.
The video was shared by employees who are disgruntled by the Houston-headquartered firm’s response to the coronavirus at its base in Dyce.
The context of the conference call is not totally clear, though it is understood the executives were not talking about Covid-19.
The three Texas-based bosses do appear to be discussing staffing levels in north-east Scotland.
Mr DeBerry said Dril-Quip was “constantly evaluating its headcount up or down”.
Mr Bird then referenced research from analysts at Tudor Pickering Holt predicting 100,000 oilfield service jobs would be lost by the end of next year.
Mr Puducheri said: “But, you know, it’s the Aberdeen culture, right? People just want some reason to whinge and whine.”
Mr Bird responded: “I hear you. I just think we need to be careful about playing to the lowest common denominator and apparently Aberdeen has become the lowest common denominator.”
He added: “But it’s 200 hundred of our 1,400 employees, right?”
It’s understood the company does employ about 200 people in the north-east, and 1,400 across the group.
Employees who work in the manufacturing department in Dyce — and who shared the video with Energy Voice — suggested Dril-Quip might be planning to close the base permanently, which the firm strongly denied.
The employees also raised concerns about the company’s efforts to deal with Covid-19, saying one colleague who developed symptoms was sent home and had since been confirmed as a sufferer.
They said Dril-Quip was asking manufacturing staff to keep coming in to the facility on the basis that their work was essential and the sufferer was in a different department.
But the worried employees feared there was still a risk of the virus being spread more widely at the base.
One of the workers alleged: “We have been told we can go home, but it will be unpaid or annual leave.”
A spokesperson for Dril-Quip said: “The health and safety of employees is of paramount importance to Dril-Quip.
“Following confirmation that an employee had tested positive for Covid-19 all those working in shared work spaces with the affected employee were sent home immediately on full pay while a specialised clean of the premises took place.
“We are pleased to confirm that our employee is recovering well at home.
“Dril-Quip has, and continues to follow all government guidelines as they apply to manufacturing industries.
“In particular, it remains the case that those who absolutely cannot work from home can continue to attend the work place.”
The spokesperson added: “Dril-Quip is committed to serving its customers and ensuring the long term viability of the Dyce facilities. This in turn will protect the welfare of all employees.
“Any suggestion that Dril-Quip intends to close the facilities in Dyce is entirely false.”
Oil and Gas UK chief executive Deirdre Michie said she didn’t recognise Mr Puducheri’s claims about Aberdeen’s culture.
Ms Michie said: “The UK’s offshore oil and gas industry faces extremely tough times with a triple whammy of low oil and gas prices and the coronavirus pandemic and through this crisis we are showing the best of this sector as it works constructively together to tackle the challenges we face.
“The positive and collaborative approach of companies, trade unions, regulators and governments through this crisis has already helped provide clarity to the thousands of people in our industry working to provide secure and affordable energy to the UK.
“OGUK remains focused on facilitating open and constructive dialogue which looks to find solutions to the issues we face collectively as a sector.”