Shell job losses won't affect India businesses

Vol 13, PW 13 (03 Dec 09) People & Policy

Shell staff in India can rest easy, amid rumours of job losses at its Hazira LNG operation under the company’s global re-structuring programme.

“Hazira LNG operations are completely unaffected by this,â€‌ Nitin Shukla, head of Shell Hazira tell this report. “These are baseless rumours.

â€‌ Far from shedding jobs, Shell’s marketing team at Hazira is actively considering hiring more staff. “With all these new gas pipelines coming up there’s a growing market,â€‌ we hear.

“Instead of focusing on Delhi, Mumbai and Gujarat as it has in the past, Shell is now looking to develop markets across India.â€‌ Shell employs 102,000 staff globally, of which more than 5000 are set to lose their jobs, as the company cuts costs in response to the global downturn and a 73% drop in third quarter profits reported last month.

“Most of the cost savings will be from senior level cuts,â€‌ reports a source. “Shell has around 750 vice-presidents worldwide.

Of these 200 will go.â€‌ As you would expect, redundancy packages at Shell are attractive, so the lay-offs are provoking little resistance, with most agreeing that the company needs to match the efficiency levels of rivals Exxon, Chevron and BP, which generate comparable revenue with less staff.

“There’s a feeling that Shell is â€کtop-heavy’,â€‌ we hear. “Middle management is less affected because it can grow.

Only the top and bottom rungs are hit.â€‌ Shell’s job shedding programme cuts across all disciplines, with huge savings expected over the next two years.

But in India, little will change, according to Shell spokesman Deepak Mukarji. “It hasn’t touched India at all,â€‌ says Mukarji.

Shell employs more than 1800 people in India, says Mukarji, the vast bulk in Bangalore at its technology centre, and in Chennai at its financial centre. Other Shell staff are spread across its lubricants, LPG and bitumen businesses, while the Hazira LNG operation employs 135 people, including a nine-strong LNG marketing team.