Norwegian Workers Go On Strike
Published in Oil Industry News on Wednesday, 21 September 2016
Hundreds of Norwegian workers have gone on strike, after wage talks broke down.
Industri Energy – a Norwegian trade union has confirmed that 335 workers have now went on strike from Baker Hughes Norge AS, Halliburton AS, Oceaneering AS, Oceaneering Asset Integrity and Schlumberger Norge AS.
The strike has taken place after talks on the 20th of September between unions and the Norwegian Oil Industry Association broke down and no satisfactory resolution was reached.
The situation is likely to have a significant effect on the Norwegian oil industry as strike participants include engineers, ROV operators and handlers of drilling waste.
State-appointed mediator Mats Wilhelm Ruland explained that neither organisation was close to a solution despite running 4 hours past the proposed negotiation deadline.
“They were too far apart,” Ruland said.
Industri Energi was negotiating on behalf of 6,500 members at 30 companies. The union has signalled that strike action could be taken up a notch if a resolution was not met.
Both parties shave agreed that strike action would delay the drilling of some wells, resulting in a reduced output for the country.
The Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, described the unions demand as “unreasonable” stating it was too difficult to increase wages during this current climate.
“A conflict won’t immediately affect the output of oil and gas from Norway’s continental shelf, but may do so if the conflict escalates,” the association said in a statement.
“Supplier companies have been particularly hard-hit by the decline in activity on the Norwegian continential shelf [NCS],” observes Jan Hodneland, lead negotiator at Norwegian Oil and Gas. “Many of them have been through a substantial restructuring in recent years.
“That’s involved big cost cuts and constant downsizing. These companies can’t cope with further growth in their costs. That would make the position worse for both of them and for the people they employ.”
Hodneland believes that a cautious pay settlement will help to improve the competitive terms for Norway’s supplier companies, and that both employers and unions must contribute preserving as many jobs as possible.
Industri Energi has now set up an official strike office in Stavanger.
Elsewhere in the UK, workers are voting on a new package proposal after weeks of strike action and negotiations.
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