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An unnecessary strike

The Norwegian Union of Industry and Energy Workers (Industry Energy) has received a pay offer on a par with industrial employees – the “lead sector” – despite the conditions prevailing in the oil industry. It has nevertheless opted to call a strik

Mediation efforts ended at 03.30 on Wednesday morning, 3.5 hours past the original deadline. The demands made by Industry Energy were unreasonably high.

“It’s almost beyond belief,” says Karl Eirik Schjøtt-Pedersen, director general of the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association. “In a year where about 40 000 people have lost their jobs in the petroleum sector and the companies are considering further downsizing, Industry Energy goes on strike for a far higher pay rise than any other group in Norway. It’s completely irresponsible.”

Norwegian Oil and Gas has shown great patience and goodwill towards Industry Energy during negotiations for this year’s collective oil service agreement on pay and conditions – despite various ploys by the union. These include pursuing a claim against Norwegian Oil and Gas in the Labour Court of Norway, which returned a unanimous judgement in favour of the employers’ organisation.

“It’s been important for us to respect the very demanding position in which the industry and its many employees find themselves,” says  Jan Hodneland, lead negotiator at Norwegian Oil and Gas. “Restraint has been a mantra during the negotiations.

“This strike therefore represents a complete lack of solidarity with the many who’ve lost their jobs and the thousands of other oil workers who could find themselves being made redundant. The union should have shown more support for the many at risk of being thrown out of work.

“A realistic approach is the one which will preserve jobs in the present position. Unfortunately, Industry Energy’s answer is to make demands which exceed all responsible limits.”

The oil service workers covered by the negotiations have an average pay of about NOK 630 000 per annum. In addition come technical supplements and overtime which add up to several hundred thousand kroner.

Industry Energy has brought out just over 300 members in five companies: Schlumberger Norge AS, Baker Hughes Norge AS, Halliburton AS, Oceaneering AS and Oceaneering Asset Integrity AS.

The strike will affect environmental treatment of drilling waste and well monitoring and thereby hit drilling on fixed and mobile facilities. It will not immediately affect oil and gas production on the Norwegian continental shelf, but could do so if the conflict is stepped up.

See also the overall page on pay talks 2016 .

Jan Hodneland, lead negotiator, Norwegian Oil and Gas, mobile +47 913 41 301
Kolbjørn Andreassen, communication manager, Norwegian Oil and Gas, mobile +47 952 82 808