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Oil traders refuse to leave Brussels for London because of low pay

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Oil traders working for US giant ExxonMobil face losing their jobs because they refuse to leave Brussels for London over poor pay.

Staff at the multinational are reluctant to relocate to the British capital amid dissatisfaction with “uncompetitive” pay and a “lack of flexibility”, unions have warned.

An internal survey showed most said they would turn down the move for these reasons.

Up to 36 traders face losing their jobs if they turn down the relocation, according to a joint union statement in a story first reported by Bloomberg.

Those who relocate will be expected to work from the office five days a week and face being sacked if they refuse.

Unions are gearing up to protest outside the company’s offices in the Belgian capital on Tuesday.  

ExxonMobil said it remained “open to resolving the situation” but London offered better proximity to trading activities, talent and “will support our evolution as a trading organisation”.

It comes after the business, which rivals Shell and BP, asked its traders to move to the UK to merge various teams, as part of a major expansion in trading.

Many of its trading staff are already in the UK, but the oil giant still employs people working on petroleum products and biofuel in Brussels.

Exxon has moved its UK traders from Leatherhead, Surrey, to the Square Mile and brought in cash bonuses to attract talent.

More than 300 employees, a third of the workforce, have left their jobs in Brussels over the past three years, the unions said.

They included the General Confederation of Liberal Trade Unions of Belgium, the Association of Employees, Technicians and Managers and the Confederation of Christian Trade Unions.

A statement published by the first warned that meetings with Exxon’s management had yielded no results and “employees have had enough”, pushing them to take action.

ExxonMobil employs around 2,000 UK staff. It operates the vast Fawley refinery in Hampshire, supplying most of the petrol and diesel sold in London and the South.

Pipelines from Fawley also send aviation fuel to Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

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