Companies in ailing oilpatch look to avoid layoffs

CALGARY - Companies in the ailing oilpatch are looking at ways to avoid layoffs - or at the very least to forestall or minimize them.

See Full Article

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (TSX:CNQ) has not had to trim its workforce of more than 7,600 as a result of the crude price collapse.

"In lieu of layoffs, we went to our staff and said 'we will do wage reductions.' And every employee who made more than $50,000 had a wage reduction," chairman Murray Edwards said to applause at a recent business forum in Lake Louise, Alta.

"The majority of employees said they would rather ... keep the team together than to have people laid off."

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has estimated at least 40,000 jobs have been shed in Canada's oil and gas industry this year, with the bulk in Alberta.

With oil prices hovering below US$50 a barrel for much of this year - and dropping below US$40 in recent days - it's been tough for oil producers to justify investing in new projects.

About 1,500 job losses have been announced at oilsands giant Cenovus Energy (TSX:CVE) this year. But in addition to that, the company has taken a hard look at benefits and discretionary spending, said CEO Brian Ferguson.

"We did put in a salary freeze in 2015 as did, I think, most of industry. We have reassessed all of our time off practices."

Debby Carreau, CEO of human resources consulting firm Inspired HR, encourages employers to look at all their options before they resort to letting staff go.

That could include reducing or delaying contributions to Registered Retirement Savings Plans, suspending health spending accounts, freezing salaries or slashing bonuses.

Some companies that have cut salaries are rewarding employees with stock. Others have instituted shortened work weeks or given employees "unpaid sabatticals" until things look up.

And some have encouraged employees to go back to school or brush up on their training, with a promise that they'll have a job to return to.

Instead of catered lunches in the office every day, maybe it's sandwiches from Subway once every two weeks now, said Carreau.

"Those peripheral fringe benefits can actually add up, especially in Calgary where we've had such lucrative compensation plans," she said.

"Some of those things that people don't automatically look at can actually save on costs and send the right message to the organization - that you care, but you're doing everything you can to keep the jobs."

Integra Ltd., a company with fewer than 30 employees that helps oil and gas companies manage their documents, has done everything possible to avoid layoffs, said partner Chris Blender.

Blender and the firm's other partners have taken a pay cut. Integra also found a new benefits provider that offers the same services as the old one, but at a lower cost.

"Because we're in the service industry, people are our business and we spend a lot of time to attract and train our people," he said. "The last thing we want to do is let anybody go during this time."



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Deadline looms for Dakota Access pipeline protest camp

    Economic CTV News
    CANNON BALL, N.D. -- As dawn breaks over an encampment that was once home to thousands of people protesting the Dakota Access oil pipeline, a few hundred holdouts rise for another day of resistance. They aren't deterred by the threat of flooding, nor by declarations from state and federal authorities that they must leave by Wednesday or face possible arrest. Source
  • Loblaw resets passwords for all PC Plus accounts after security breach

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO - Loblaw has reset passwords for all its PC Plus rewards collectors' online accounts after points were stolen from some members' accounts. The company (TSX:L) posted a warning on its website saying it requires all members to create new passwords - regardless of whether or not they changed them following the recent security breach. Source
  • Tim Hortons and Burger King owner, Restaurant Brands, nears deal to buy Popeyes: report

    Economic CBC News
    Restaurant Brands International Inc. , owner of the Burger King and Tim Hortons fast-food chains, is nearing a deal to acquire Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc., people familiar with the matter said on Monday. The deal, which will likely value Popeyes at more than $1.7 billion US, is a bet by Oakville, Ont,-based Restaurant Brands that it can use its international reach to introduce Popeyes' Louisiana-style fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits to more diners globally. Source
  • Canadian labour leader Bob White, instrumental in creating CAW, dies

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO - Canadian labour leader Bob White has died. White was instrumental in creating the Canadian Auto Workers union, which broke away from its American parent in the mid-1980s. He was the CAW's founding president from 1985 until 1991 -- a period when the union was at the height of its power, representing most of the Canadian employees of the big U.S. Source
  • Bob White, 'true maverick' former president of Canadian Auto Workers, dies

    Economic CBC News
    Bob White, the Canadian union leader who founded the Canadian Auto Workers after splitting off from its American counterpart, has died at the age of 81. Unifor, the union which now encompasses the Canadian Auto Workers, tweeted that White was "a great union leader. Source
  • 'True maverick' former president of Canadian Auto Workers Bob White dies

    Economic CBC News
    Bob White, the Canadian union leader who founded the Canadian Auto Workers after splitting off from its American counterpart, has died at the age of 81. Unifor, the union which now encompasses the Canadian Auto Workers, tweeted that White was "a great union leader. Source
  • Founding president of Canadian Auto Workers Bob White dies

    Economic CBC News
    Bob White, the Canadian union leader who founded the Canadian Auto Workers after splitting off from its American counterpart, has died at the age of 81. Unifor, the union which now encompasses the Canadian Auto Workers, tweeted that White was "a great union leader. Source
  • Wholesale trade rise 0.7% in December for third straight monthly gain

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Canadian wholesale trade grew 0.7 per cent to $57.3 billion in December, registering its third consecutive monthly gain. Statistics Canada says sales in categories such as machinery, equipment and supplies, as well as building material and supplies were the biggest contributors to the increase. Source
  • China, Canada face similar pension challenges: CEO of CPP Investment Board

    Economic CTV News
    BEIJING -- The top executive at Canada's largest retirement fund is in Beijing today to help grow the fund's relationship with Chinese pension officials. Mark Machin was on hand for the official launch of a Chinese translation of "Fixing the Future" -- a book tracing the political and financial hurdles that were overcome when the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board was created in the 1990s. Source
  • Unilever shares tumble as Kraft Heinz drops takeover bid

    Economic CBC News
    Kraft Heinz Co.'s rapid retreat from its surprise $143 billion US bid for Unilever in the face of stiff resistance knocked the Anglo-Dutch company's shares on Monday as investors assessed the impact of the failed approach. Source