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Mediation with Safe under way – strike could hit oil and gas fields

The Norwegian Union of Energy Workers (Safe) refused to accept the result of pay talks on the oil agreement, which largely applies to personnel at onshore plants.

This settlement has thereby gone to mediation, which begins today and lasts until midnight.

During the negotiations on 2 November 2020, Norwegian Oil and Gas and Safe agreed on a recommended settlement for the next agreement period. The union has subsequently said it is dissatisfied with the outcomes reached locally at the companies.

This settlement has therefore gone to mediation, which begins today at the Norwegian Oil and Gas offices in Forus and will terminate at midnight. The mediator is Richard Saue, a judge at the Stavanger district court.

A parallel – and identically worded – oil industry agreement is negotiated by the largest of the unions, the Norwegian Union of Industry and Energy Workers (Industry Energy), and covers about 3 200 of its members. This was accepted by the union last autumn, and is not involved in the mediation.

The oil agreement covers about 1 000 members of Safe and the affiliated Negotia union. It is primarily a frame agreement, which means in part that pay is determined/negotiated locally.

“It’s difficult for us to see what we’re actually going to mediate about,” says lead negotiator Elisabeth Brattebø Fenne, who is acting director of organisation and employer policy at Norwegian Oil and Gas.

“Our understanding is that Safe’s demands reflect dissatisfaction with the results achieved in local settlements. The provisions in the agreement say that these must be negotiated locally in the companies, not in the central talks. But we hope this mediation will arrive at a settlement.”

Safe has given notice of a walk-out by 12 of its members at the Mongstad refinery near Bergen, which is the largest plant of its kind in Norway and medium-sized by European standards.

The effect of a possible strike could be reduced crude-oil storage and port capacity at Equinor’s Mongstad refinery, which could have consequences for output from a number of Equinor’s fields on the Norwegian continental shelf – including Johan Sverdrup and Troll. It might therefore be necessary to shut down production until future notice.

A possible strike could also affect gas exports from the Troll area and have implications for the Kvitebjørn, Visund, Byrding, Fram and Valemon fields.


Kolbjørn Andreassen, communications manager, Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, mobile: +47 952 82 808