UPDATE 2: Minister of Labour Hanne Bjurstrøm has put her foot down and called parties involved in Norway’s offshore strike in for talks, Friday.
Ministry officials would not release any firm details as to what matters they will be discussing, but unions want retirement at 62 included in this year’s collective wage agreement. The government may have to step in and impose measures to break the strike.
The minister’s move comes following OLF (Norwegian Oil Industry Association) threats of lockouts from midnight on 10th July, barring 6,515 workers their place of work.
OLF chief negotiator Jan Hodneland said their action was due to the deadlocked situation amongst “unreasonable demands”, claiming they were powerless to concede to union demands.
On their part, officials at the three unions – SAFE (Organisation of Energy Personnel), Industri Energi (Industry Energy), Lederne (Organisation of Managers and Executives) – had accused employers of abusing their power, declaring the OLF was overacting.
“It’s obvious the OLF is now speculating the government will adopt compulsory wage arbitration following us holding a responsible strike that doesn’t threaten vital national interests,” declared SAFE and Industi Energi shop stewards Hilde-Marit Rysst og Leif Sande in a joint statement.
The OLF calculates the strike has so far cost Norway over NOK 2 billion (about USD 333 million).
Talks are to be held at Minister Hanne Bjurstrøm’s office at 18:00 local time. 70 fields will have to close if these are unsuccessful.
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