Bed-sharing oil workers merit big money: union

Oil rig workers should be paid an extra 4,600 kroner ($750) a day for the inconvenience of having to share a cabin with an employee working another shift, a Norwegian labour union has argued.

Bed-sharing oil workers merit big money: union
Statoil's Statfjord B oil rig has been given the all-clear to implement hot-bedding until the end of 2014 (Photo: Harald Pettersen/Statoil)

While the government agrees that workers should be compensated for taking turns to sleep in the same cabin, a spat has broken out over an appropriate pay scale, newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad reports.

The Norwegian Oil Industry Association (OLF) and the LO trade union federation have agreed on a sum of around 750 kroner ($120) a day.

But other labour groups argue that this figure is way too low considering the huge amounts of money oil firms save by not providing individual cabins for all workers.

Lederne, a trade union representing managers and engineers, has called for its night-shift workers to be paid a supplementary hot-bedding fee of 4,000 kroner a day. Day-shift workers should get 3,000 kroner, the union says.

What’s more, since cabins for hot-bedding colleagues are often outfitted with reversible beds or pull-out bunks, occupants should be paid the equivalent of an extra hour’s overtime, or around 600 kroner, for the inconvenience of having to fiddle with the beds, the union says.

Terje Herland at Lederne’s Statoil group said the state-owned oil giant had taken a major step backwards by prioritizing hot-bedding over more worker-friendly solutions like floatel rental or the expansion of existing living quarters.

“When they’re saving billions on cabin-sharing, we don’t see any reason to sell ourselves cheap,” Herland told Stavanger Aftenblad.

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NGOs take Norway to European Court over Arctic oil exploration

Two NGOs and six young climate activists have decided to take Norway to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to demand the cancellation of oil permits in the Arctic, Greenpeace announced on Tuesday.

NGOs take Norway to European Court over Arctic oil exploration
Northern Norway. Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash.

It’s the latest turn in a legal tussle between environmental organisations Greenpeace and Young Friends of the Earth Norway on one side and the Norwegian state on the other.

The organisations are demanding the government cancel 10 oil exploration licenses in the Barents Sea awarded in 2016, arguing it was unconstitutional.

Referring to the Paris Agreement, which seeks to limit global warming to less than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the organisations claim that the oil licenses violated article 112 of Norway’s constitution, guaranteeing everyone the right to a healthy environment.”

The six activists, alongside Greenpeace Nordic and Young Friends of the Earth Norway, hope that the European Court of Human Rights will hear their case and find that Norway’s oil expansion is in breach of human rights,” Greenpeace said in a statement.

In December, Norway’s Supreme Court rejected the claim brought by the organisations, their third successive legal defeat.

READ MORE: Norway sees oil in its future despite IEA’s warnings¬†

While most of the judges on the court agreed that article 112 could be invoked if the state failed to meet its climate and environmental obligations– they did not think it was applicable in this case.

The court also held that the granting of oil permits was not contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights, in part because they did not represent “a real and immediate risk” to life and physical integrity.

“The young activists and the environmental organisations argue that this judgment was flawed, as it discounted the significance of their environmental constitutional rights and did not take into account an accurate assessment of the consequences of climate change for the coming generations,” Greenpeace said.

On Friday, the Norwegian government unveiled a white paper on the country’s energy future, which still includes oil exploration despite a warning from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The IEA recently warned that all future fossil fuel projects must be scrapped if the world is to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The Norwegian case is an example of a global trend in which climate activists are increasingly turning to courts to pursue their agenda.