Norway: Offshore rig workers’ strike averted

Norwegian offshore rig workers have reached a pay agreement with their employers, averting a potential strike of 1600 people on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

Illustration: Image by the Norwegian Shipowners' Association
Illustration: Image by the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association

The Norwegian Shipowners’ Association representing employers said on Friday Agreement had been reached several hours past the set mediation deadline of midnight June 27. Industri Energi union said the deal was reached at 4 am Friday.

“The Norwegian Shipowners’ Association reached an agreement with Industri Energi and SAFE in the Mid-Term Settlement for employees on mobile offshore units, drilling and catering on permanently placed facilities on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, after mediation at the national Mediator’s Office several hours past deadline,” the employers’ association said.

Industri Energi’s representative Frode Alfheim said the union ensured its members got a decent pay rise during the mediation which is “far better” than the offer initially placed by Norwegian Shipowners’ Association during May negotiations.

The result involves a general wage growth of 3,6%. A strike among under 1600 rig workers is thus prevented.

Industri Energi’s negotiation committee during the mediation. Photo: Atle Espen Helgesen

“For the sake of the competitive situation and jobs on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, it is essential that we have avoided conflict and feel both parties have had to give and take,” said the head negotiator for the NSA, Jakob Korsgaard, CEO of Maersk Drilling Norway.

“The mediations turned out to be very demanding,” the association added.

As reported earlier in June, offshore workers’ union Industri Energi had broken off wage talks together with SAFE union, citing a big difference between the asked for and the actually offered pay rise, saying that if no agreement was reached during mediation with the National Mediator (Riksmekleren) up to 937 offshore workers would go on a strike across around 20 offshore rigs and platforms, but the final number of workers has yet to be decided on. SAFE had said that its 667 offshore employees across 12 facilities might go on a strike too.

Industri Energi’s Alfheim said that during the bad times in the industry the rig workers together with the companies did considerable work to lower the cost environment, making it cheaper to drill offshore wells in Norway.

However, he said that with the rig industry facing activity growth it is reasonable for workers to be compensated too.

Alfheim also said the good wage deal is important for the industry to have people motivated and to make it more attractive to young people who are choosing a career path.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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