Dozens of workers in Montrose were told they are at risk of losing their jobs on the day their company created a $32 billion oil business.
It is understood less than 50 of the 400 staff employed at GE Oil and Gas are involved in the consultation although it is not known how many of them will be made redundant.
The energy giant said the decision to reduce the workforce at its Brent Avenue and Charleton Road sites was due to the “long-term decline in the oil price, delays and cancellations of major projects” despite the company investing £13.5m in its Montrose facilities just last year.
The grim news was delivered on Monday as GE announced it was combining its petroleum-related operations with oilfield services supplier Baker Hughes in a deal valued at $32bn.
The new company will be one of the industry’s largest players, bringing together a portfolio of capabilities spanning oilfield services, equipment manufacturing and technology.
One employee said: “The mood in the plant is pretty bad as the men have been working unlimited hours to make deadlines.
“They have done everything asked of them and have now been hit with this.
“The men were taken in this morning and given letters of notice.
“It’s got nothing to do with the merger as the last two years have seen record production.
“Wage freezes have also been imposed to save jobs but that hasn’t done us a lot of good.
“Now the backlog is finished it would appear the cull is starting.
“The company has made billions during the good times and is one of the richest companies in world.
“It could easily sit out dips which are normal in the oil and gas industry.”
A GE Oil and Gas spokesman said the long-term decline in the oil price, delays and cancellations of major projects have resulted in a drastic reduction in available work for the global industry.
He said: “GE Oil and Gas is proposing actions to reduce the cost structure of the business, including some workforce reductions and consolidation of manufacturing and service operations.
“We don’t make these proposals lightly, but believe action is necessary for the long-term health of the business, to remain competitive and to better meet the needs of our customers.”
Earlier this month GE said it would be making a number of redundancies in Peterhead after revealing it was going to close its site in the region.
In January 2016, the US firm said its Scottish-based employees would not be affected by a move to reduce its headcount by about 600 in the UK.
GE’s oil and gas business, which makes blowout preventers, pumps and compressors used in exploration and production, accounted for 14% of the company’s total revenue in 2015.