MORE than two dozen of ExxonMobil’s trading staff declined the oil giant’s offer to transfer to London from Belgium, putting their jobs at risk, according to a union official.

A majority of the traders — 25 out of 36 — declined to relocate, according to Fransy Van de Gucht of the ACLVB union. “Those 25 will be gradually dismissed once they have handed over their job to — mostly newly hired — counterparts in London,” he said.

Earlier this year, ExxonMobil asked traders in Belgium to relocate to the UK after it created a new global trading division. The move is part of a major expansion in trading for the oil company, which historically hasn’t taken on as much risk as European rivals Shell and BP.

Europe is a “challenging business environment” and the UK move will help the company “remain competitive for the long term,” ExxonMobil said in a statement. “London provides better proximity to trading activities, trading talent pool, and will support our evolution as a trading organisation.”

A majority of ExxonMobil’s Brussels-based trading staff previously said they wouldn’t move to London because of “uncompetitive” pay and a “lack of flexibility.”

Union officials held a protest against the move outside the oil giant’s Brussels office in April, and they said at the time that some ExxonMobil traders were among those present. ExxonMobil spokeswoman Elise Otten said on Friday that no employees participated in the protest. 

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The company previously introduced a new compensation policy that would pay some traders cash bonuses. BLOOMBERG

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