Offshore Strike Averted With New Pay Deal

Published at 09:56AM - 04/07/16

Norwegian offshore oil workers and employers have signed a new deal on wages on Saturday, thus avoiding a strike that could have caused a severe cut on Norwegian oil and gas output.

While unions were saying that members should receive pay increases matching those in other industries, employers argued that the plunge in crude prices should be matched by cost cuts and flexible work practices for the industry to remain competitive.

“We’ve beaten back all attempts at weakening our terms. There was a mandatory requirement from us in this mediation, and it was reached”, SAFE union leader Hilde-Marit Rysst, said.

Offshore Strike Averted With New Pay Deal

The union leaders confirmed they agreed on a pay deal they “can live with for this year”. According to the union’s website, the pay increases include offshore compensation and holiday pay.

“We had obviously wanted a better financial settlement than the one agreed upon, but we must say we are reasonably satisfied with the result for this year’s wage deal,” Rysst added.

“It was vital for us that the rights of our members, which we have worked hard for over many years, were not weakened”, Industri Energi negotiation leader, Asle Reime, said.

Asle Reime IndutriEnergi
Asle Reime IndutriEnergi

According to SAFE, the rate included offshore compensation, holiday pay, and accommodation and shift supplements.

775-Worker Strike Averted

Approximately 775 workers at fields operated by Statoil, ExxonMobil and Engie had threatened to go on strike if the talks had failed.

Such a result could have capped Norway’s daily production of oil and natural gas by 229,000 barrels of oil equivalents.

If the talks broke down, Industri Energi said it would take out 524 members, while SAFE said it would take out 156 and Lederne, a smaller union, said 75 workers would also go on strike.

Norway currently produces about 1.6 million barrels of crude and 280 million cubic metres (9.8 billion cubic feet) of natural gas per day.

In 2012, a 16-day strike cut the country’s crude output by 13%.