Norway: Oil wages talks go to mediation. More than 400 could go on strike

The Norwegian Union of Energy Workers (Safe) has refused to accept the negotiated result for the oil agreement, which also covers land-based facilities in Norway.

This settlement has now gone to mediation, with the deadline set at midnight, Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, representing employers, said on Thursday.

During negotiations in May, Norwegian Oil and Gas reached an agreement with Safe on a recommended collective pay settlement for the next period, with a deadline of September 1 for response.

The agreement is primarily a framework settlement, which means in part that pay is determined/negotiated at local level. Safe has not been satisfied with the results achieved through talks at the companies by the deadline, and the matter has accordingly been submitted to mediation. The mediator is Anne Cathrine Frøstrup.

“It’s a little difficult to see what we’re going to mediate about, since the material issues such as pay and supplements are to be negotiated locally – not centrally,” says Jan Hodneland, lead negotiator for Norwegian Oil and Gas. “But we naturally hope to reach a solution.”

The agreement applies to members of Safe and the affiliated unions Parat og Negotia. Their members work primarily on land as permanent employees of the operator companies.

According to the Norwegian Oil and Gas association, Safe has notified a walkout by its members at the following companies/workplaces (if the deal is not reached):

• Esso Norge AS Slagentangen (114 people)
• A/S Norske Shell Ormen Lange, Nyhamna (105 people)
• Statoil ASA Melkøya (119 people)

Should a stoppage occur, Ormen Lange/Nyhamna and Melkøya plants will have to shut down; Slagentangen is currently involved in a maintenance turnaround, and a possible conflict would extend this, the employers said.

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