back to article Shell issues 12% pay cut ultimatum to IT contractors

Royal Dutch Shell has reportedly told its UK-based IT contractors they will be asked to quit if they fail to accept a 12 per cent pay cut. According to Contractor UK, the multinational company wrote to its IT contractors last month, informing them of its plan to slash rates as part of a cost-cutting exercise. It warned IT …


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  1. dunncha


    Its not like they lost any money last year. Shell made a profit of £1.5 million per hour last year.

    (And that isn't a typo yes 1.5 million per hour)

    This is nothing to do with the credit crunch this is just exploiting the credit crunch to make even more money. And how much tax do they pay every year on that profit. Not as much as their staff have to pay.

    I guess if we had a Prime Minister with a backbone things like this wouldn't happen. But we don't so it does.

    Shouty Shouty - Bastards.

  2. shut it


    are they taking the piss, they announce billions in profit and want to cut the wages of everybody so they can give their greedy share holders even more money.boycott bp garages that will see their profits hit

  3. Code Monkey


    Boycott one and you just end up buying from some other cnuts. No such thing as fairtrade petrol :o\

  4. qwertyuiop

    Why BP?


    "boycott bp garages that will see their profits hit"

    Why would Royal Dutch Shell (featured in the story) give a sh*t if you choose to boycott BP garagres - owned by BP Amoco, a completely different company the last time I looked?

  5. Maverick


    is it safe to assume that boycotting BP garages will hurt Shell?

    I would argue perhaps not . . .

  6. It wasnt me

    @shut it.

    Boycotting shell might help a little more than boycotting BP.

    Did your eyes glaze over?

  7. James 5
    Thumb Down

    I assume that...

    ... to show solidarity the directors of Shell will be taking 50% salary cuts and doing without their dividends for the next 10 years.

    NO. Now, there's a surprise.....

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Old Game, New Players?

    I'll admit I haven't previously thought about a IT union before this article but talk about the perfect wake up call!

    Shell is basically playing the risk that because there is no unified communication among their IT crowd... there will be enough people that get scared and take the cut. Those that don't and try to speak up against the corporate greed... will get the ax. It's a win/win for shell.

    The only way that they would lose is if every single one of their workers told them to shove off with a single voice... but that's not going to happen this time.

    For a group of people who should be able to effectively communicate better than any other group before them (with exception to maybe the post office) I sure am wondering why there isn't an IT union right now.

  9. sandman

    IT Union?

    Sorry, many of the IT contractors I know regard the Daily Mail as a dangerously subversive commie rag. The idea of them forming a union is as likely as me buying said paper. You aare looking at a Thatcherite/Blairite generation where unions were/are regarded as positively evil. Also there are small details such as union recognition by the employer to deal with. It would be a fun idea though, imagine if every DBA in the land went on strike...

  10. Keith T
    Paris Hilton

    There isn't an IT union because we're chicken

    OG NP, there isn't a union or union-like (BMA) type association because we're chicken.

    We are chicken executives will move our work to India or China. The reality is, executives aren't our friends, and if it was more cost effective to have the work done in India or China, they'd have already moved it.

    And because we're chicken, executives, businesses and other professions will take advantage of us.

    I'm amazed Shell isn't asking IT contractors to work for free.

    See the article on Google looking to have us write them an operating system for them for free. Or look at the free programming we do for Mozzilla, and for IBM (through Unix), etc.

    Paris, because Paris is smart enough not to work for free.

  11. Atherton20
    Big Brother

    Old news

    Dudes, I work in oil, and all teh oil companies did this months ago, and not just to the IT geeks.

    You may be aware that last year oil was $147/bbl. Then it dropped to about $35/bbl. Now it's back up to $65/bbl. That rollercoaster saw costs go up massively (I had one megacorp tell me it wanted a 30% increase on all contractual prices), and the global credit-armageddon was teh perfect excuse to put a squeeze on all those b*ggers who put there prices up.

    One company I know sent a note out to ALL staff (not just contractors) telling them that contractors sitting next to them were taking a 10% cut., with no consultation or redress - how rude is that?

    To be fair, you should try planning a $1 billion investment with commodity price volatility as it is and not end up an inhuman megcorp....

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Unions and IT

    One could argue that the IT mindset is not well-suited to unionization on the grounds that we're all a bunch of antisocial, egotistical cranks who get our jollies by trolling message boards. Not that I'm making such an argument, mind you, just saying . . .

    On the other hand, my wife has worked in a number of union shops, as have certain friends, and the overwhelming sense I've gotten from them is that unionization promotes mediocrity by protecting substandard workers from disciplinary action and often causes seniority to be used as the primary basis for advancement. As a result, unionized organizations that require skilled workers begin to decay because their workforce becomes complacent and unmotivated and because the organizations themselves become havens for unprunable deadwood.

  13. Matt 32

    Economic insecurity

    The issues of economic insecurity are not addressed best by unions -- especially for professionals.

    Unions simply want you to believe their greed, ineptitude, and self centeredness is morally superior to that of management. It's not. It's just their own greed, ineptitude, and and self centeredness.

    It doesn't matter if a company is brought down by the pursuit of short term profits by management or the concessions wrung out by unions exploiting management's short sighted concerns by threatening job actions -- the owners lose money in the long term, and you're out of a job.

    Nor is the fix for economic insecurity believing The Government will give you a blankie and tuck you in at night.

    The fix is this wonderfully old fashion notion: It's called savings. Keep your debts low, your savings really wouldn't worry, and if faced with a 12% pay cut you have the choice to simply tell them pound sand. If the workers by and large had that ability the company's faced with the problem of not being able to recruit replacements because of their current practices or past reputation -- and then they'll fix it.

    Long as you keep spending your money as quick as you earn it, they have you by the gnads.

    STOP for stop the insanity.

  14. Simon Westerby 1

    What goes around comes a around..

    So shell try to penny pinch.. any contracters with balls/talent will tell them to shove it... they will be left with the dross, their IT systems will feck up, project costs will sky rocket and they'll have to spend money to fix things...

    Ho-hum.. i'ld like to be the CEO explaining that one to shareholders next year ...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Earn that extra money in the good times to pay for the bad times. An Indian will do your job for a tenth of the cost and be just as useless as you are.

  16. Mike T
    Paris Hilton

    @ AC 19:47

    So how is "seniority to be used as the primary basis for advancement" any different from non-union shops? I've worked in union and non-union places, public and private sector, and IME complacency and (un)motivation are promoted as much within the confines of capitalist efficiency as without.

    Yes this stagnation can - does - occur in unionised labour. Unionisation is not a requirement though.

    /me gets back to the message boards

    Paris - she labours for love.

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  18. Anonymous Coward

    They're doomed

    Any company that outsources anything to EDS deserves everything they get. Crap software, late deliveries, spending overruns. They will probably be grateful to any IT workers they still have direct control over, life isn't fair and big companies get where they are by exploiting something somewhere to great effect, tough luck contractors, it's your turn.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    agreed - britain is so overvalued in real terms

    you have to wonder if this is a temporary recession or a market adjustment.

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