Norway Unions Split over Oil Service Workers' Wage Talks


October 22, 2020
Offshore rigs at a base in Norway - Image credit: Mariusltu/AdobeStock

Offshore rigs at a base in Norway - Image credit: Mariusltu/AdobeStock

One of Norway's two labor unions for oil service workers struck a wage deal with subcontractors to the country's oil and gas industry, while a second union broke off talks, union officials said on Thursday.

Industri Energi, the largest of the two labor unions involved in negotiations, said it had agreed to a deal, while the smaller Safe union said it had broken off talks and would face mandatory mediation later this year.

Members of Safe are not permitted to strike at this point, but could do so if the next round of talks, led by a state-appointed mediator, also fails to bring an agreement.

Negotiations covered pay and other terms for more than 5,000 drillers, well service crews and other workers at firms such as Aker Solutions, Subsea 7, and Schlumberger, which operate as subcontractors to the oil industry.

No date has so far been set for the resumption of talks between Safe and the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association (NOG), which negotiates on behalf of the industry.

"It's regrettable that Safe did not accept the same offer as Industri Energi," NOG said in a statement.

In 2016, a three-week strike among Norwegian oil service workers disrupted the drilling of new wells but did not impact ongoing oil and gas production.

Norway is western Europe's top petroleum exporting nation with daily output of some four million barrels of oil equivalent, half in the form of natural gas and the other half as crude and other liquids.

 (Reporting by Terje Solsvik and Nerijus Adomaitis; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Muralikumar Anantharman)

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