Oil and gas is one of the main industries in Aberdeen where I grew up, and it was inevitable that I would follow in my father’s footsteps to work on the rigs out in the North Sea. Three weeks straight in the middle of the sea is tough, so much so that for many people their first stint is often their last. But the stability of the job when I started in the industry 13 years ago, as well as the decent pay and conditions, made up for the long periods away from family and friends. This stability was to be short-lived. By 2016, a sustained period of oil price drops had hit the industry hard, and my employer of seven years took swift action, slashing jobs across the sector. That year there were 120,000 fewer jobs than at the peak in 2014. The wages and bonuses that had enticed us on to the rigs as direct employees were made less and less appealing . Like many of my colleagues I became self-employed, as the new working conditions pushed us to leave what we thought would be jobs for life. It’s no wonder that a majority of workers in […]

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