Long-term tri-union industrial action by Norwegian Continental Shelf workers for improved pension arrangements could end up costing the country several billion kroner, reports say.
Some 700 offshore personnel staged a walkout, Sunday, following a collapse in two-day talks at the state mediator.
Negotiations involved Norway’s Union of Energy Workers (SAFE) Industry Energy (Industri Energi), the Organisation of Managers and Executives (Lederne), and employer’s organisation the Oil Industry Association (OLF).
The dispute concerns a collective agreement allowing offshore employees the possibility to retire with a full pension at 62 years of age.
Employers have refused to include this issue as part of the annual wage negotiations. Moreover, they will not accede to demands for 14 days paid paternity leave. This was successfully negotiated by the frontrunners in the spring and was incorporated in all of the other collective wage agreements.
According to the OLF, the average retirement age and annual salary for oil company employees is 65 and NOK 1 million, respectively.
Criticising offshore unions’ “Completely unreasonable pension demands”, chief OLF negotiator Jan Hodneland says they “are imposing substantial costs on the companies and Norwegian society. The strike will cost roughly NOK 150 million per day (about USD 25.1 million), so it will not take long before the bill tops NOK 1 billion (roughly USD 167.7 million).”
The OLF’s stance has provoked Industry Energy and SAFE shop stewards, Leif Sande and Hilde-Marit Rysst.
“Forcing through a change in pre-negotiated arrangements over the heads of employees is arrogant”, they say, “We won’t accept employers robbing us of our pensions, which is why we are striking.”
Employees have been called out on strike at Statoil, BP, and ESS Support Services working on Skarv, the Oseberg Field Centre, Heidrun, and Oseberg’s “Floatel Superior”.
Production at Oseberg and Heidrun will have to cease, something that will take four to five days to shut down. Mid-Norway’s Tjeldbergodden industrial complex, supplied by Heidrun with gas feedstock, will have to shut down after one day, the OLF states.
Like this article? Show your appreciation.