Norway Oil Strike Ends with Favorable Results for Oilfield Workers
The Norway oil workers’ strike that begun last Sept. 30, finally ended, as the NOG Association and the Laderne workers’s union reached an agreement on Oct. 09. It was imperative that a compromise be reached since the month-long stand-off would have resulted in a reduction of the country’s oil production by at least 25% or an equivalent loss of 966 000 barrels of daily oil production.
Both the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association (NOG) negotiator Jan Hodneland and Audun Ingvartsen, Laverne’s trade union chief, have issued statements confirming that the oil workers strike has ended. Otherwise, if the strike continued, the negotiations would have ended on October 14, the date that field operator Equinor had set in shutting down oilfield operations. The shutdown would have included other oil fields operated by Wintershall Dea Norge and ConocoPhillips.
Equinor explained that they would be forced to cease operations in light of the scheduled personnel rotation. Mainly because oil production would have been affected by the workers’ strike due to lack of sufficient and competent key operational functions.
The Agreement Reached by the NOG and Laverne
The Norwegian oil workers through their union Laverne called for wage increases, as well as for longer and more comprehensive employment agreements. Although Norway’s oil workers are the highest paid in all of Europe, they are receiving much less than their Australian and North American counterparts.
However, due to the decline in demand for oil and gas at the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, oil companies like Equinor have been looking into ways with which they can reduce costs in remotely controlling production at offshore fields.
While at first, the oil companies refused to give in to the workers’ demands, NOG stepped in, being the official government negotiator for wage deals in behalf of the oil industry. While initial talks failed, the escalation of the workers’ strike which started with 43 union members saw an additional 169 workers joining the strike. It became necessary for the oil companies to continue with the negotiations to avoid the shutdown of oilfields and their oil production activities.
Under the agreement, the oil workers wages will increase, in accordance with what other industry workers earn.
Moreover, as part of offshore workers’ wage agreement, Equinor and Aker BP committed to include provisions for land-based staff at their respective onshore control rooms.
The Laverne workers union was able to negotiate a key demand, which called for broader, longer commitment from oil firms that will be signed on April 1, 2021.
The oil strike finally settled, workers have since gone back to their jobs at the oilfields with greater motivation in carrying out their functions. Perhaps it helps that in Norway, citizens who are gainfully employed have access to lån på dagen uten kredittsjekk ( same day loans without credit check) for any purpose in case the need for an emergency fund arises.