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Employee-owned businesses and oil and gas industry examined

20 February 2017

Scottish Affairs Committee visit Aberdeen to examine the oil and gas industry and worker engagement in corporate governance.


Monday 20 February 2017, Linklater Rooms, University of Aberdeen

Oil and gas industry

At 11.15am

  • Mike Tholen, Director of Upstream Policy, Oil and Gas UK
  • Christine Currie, Planning, Performance and Policy Manager, Opito

There will then be a short break before the afternoon panels.

Employee-owned businesses

From 1.05pm

  • Gordon Inglis, Director and Principal Consultant, Accord Energy
  • Fred Bowden, Managing Director, Woollard and Henry
  • Carole Leslie, Independent adviser

Business interests

From 1.30pm

  • David Watt, Executive Director, Institute of Directors Scotland
  • Barry McCulloch, Senior Policy Adviser, Federation of Small Businesses

Purpose of the session

In the morning, the Committee will speak to representatives of the oil and gas industry about the impact of the global drop in oil prices on employment in the short and long term. It will examine the impact this has had on employment and investigate the efforts that have been made to help revive the sector.

In the afternoon the Committee will speak to business representatives about the role of low-cost and flexible labour in making businesses competitive. The Committee will ask about levels of worker engagement and corporate governance and ask if more can be done to give workers a stake in the company they work for.

Chair's comment

Ahead of the visit, committee Chair Pete Wishart commented:

"Our visit to Aberdeen comes at a difficult time the oil industry. For five decades it has been one of Scotland's major providers of highly skilled, high quality work but it is now going through a difficult period. The number of jobs supported by the industry may have fallen by up to 100,000 since 2013 and tax revenue for 2015–16 is expected to have been negative for the first time ever.

We will be asking Oil and Gas UK, the industry association for the sector, and Opito, who promote skills and training, what the future looks like for their sector and what government can do to help them recover. What has support has been given, either by the industry or by government, to those who have been affected by recent job losses? Is oil and gas still a profession worth looking at for someone looking for somewhere to build a career?

We will also be speaking to the Institute of Directors Scotland and Federation of Small Businesses about the current environment for their members. What are the major cost issues they face in deciding on wages for employees? What do they do to promote worker involvement in how businesses are run and promote good corporate governance?

Throughout this inquiry we have been told that employees need to be given a voice in the workplace, and that businesses can gain a competitive edge if they give their staff an opportunity to contribute to the running of the business. To explore these issues we'll be meeting with representatives of some local employee-owned businesses to find out how they have benefited from enabling employee engagement."

Further information

Image: Suncor Energy

Video: Parliamentary copyright