SHARE
COPY LINK

STRIKES

Norwegian governemnt forces oil and gas strike to end

Norway's government said Tuesday it was referring a dispute between oil and gas workers and employers to an independent board, after an industry group warned strikes could cut Norway's gas exports by more than half.

An oil rig.
The Norwegian government has forced the oil and gas worker strike to an end. Pictured is an oil rig in Norwegian waters. Photo by Jan-Rune Smenes Reite: https://www.pexels.com/photo/oil-platfrom-rig-in-the-middle-of-the-ocean-3207536/

The move, which effectively ends the stoppage, comes after workers walked out of their jobs on Tuesday, leading to the closure of three fields and the union announced more workers would strike later in the week.

“The announced escalation is critical in today’s situation, both with regards to the energy crisis and the geopolitical situation we are in with a war in Europe,” Labour Minister Marte Mjos Persen said in a statement.

Under Norwegian legislation, the government can force parties in a labour dispute to a wage board which will decide on the matter.

Earlier on Tuesday, industry group the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, warned that with the announced escalation of the strike announced for Saturday would slash output.

It said 56 percent of total gas exports from the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) would be cut, together with a production loss of 341,000 barrels of oil a day.

‘A very tight market’

“It is unjustifiable to allow gas production to stop to such an extent that this strike in the next few days is estimated to lead to,” Persen said.

Earlier Tuesday Norwegian energy giant Equinor said it had shut down production at three oil and gas fields after oil workers walked out following failed wage negotiations, and warned that more closures were expected.

The strike came at a time when energy prices have fluctuated as a result of the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and associated sanctions.

“Norwegian deliveries account for a quarter of European energy supplies, and Europe is entirely dependent on Norway delivering as a nation at a time when Russian supply cuts have created a very tight market for natural gas,” said the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association.

“A strike on this scale poses huge problems for countries which are wholly dependent on filling up their gas stores ahead of the autumn and winter,” it added.

Workers walked out after members of the Lederne union voted no to a proposal brought by mediators during wage negotiations. 

According to the government, the parties had said “that they will end the strike so that everyone can return to work as soon as possible”.

READ MORE: What does Norway do with its oil money?

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

STRIKES

Teachers’ strike in Norway could escalate when new school year starts

The new school year in Norway could be marked by an escalation of a teachers' strike, which could see education professionals across the country join teachers in Bergen already on strike. 

Teachers' strike in Norway could escalate when new school year starts

A dispute over pay and wage growth could see teachers nationwide strike at the beginning of the new school year in Norway, public broadcaster NRK reports. 

“We have made a plan. I cannot reveal where, when and how many people will be affected by a strike. But it is only natural to imagine that an escalation will take place in connection with the start of school,” Steffen Handal, head of the Norwegian Education Association, told NRK. 

Currently, 40 teachers in Bergen are already on strike over wages. Handal says teachers have been the wage losers in the public sector’s last six collective bargaining agreements. 

“We are struggling to recruit and retain teachers. KS has made the teachers wage losers for the sixth year in a row. This is a policy that drives people out of the teaching profession,” Handal said. 

In May, the National Association of Schools, the Norwegian Association of Lecturers and the Norwegian Education Association came out against the deal, which the public sector accepted as a whole. 

KS, the organisation which negotiates collective bargaining agreements with the public sector, has warned that there isn’t really any room for negotiation. 

READ ALSO: How easy is it to work as an English teacher in Norway?

“The money has been used up,” Tor Arne Gangsø, director of labour at KS, told NRK. 

Kristine Nergaard, a researcher with Fafo, which researchers working life, warned that the strike has the potential to drag on once it escalates. 

“I think that it will last for at least two to three weeks from the time of escalation. Maybe more. It will also be difficult to manage this strike against the compulsory wage board,” Nergaard told union news site Utdanningsnytt.no.

The researcher added that unions could take the same approach as in 2014 when 7,000 teachers were on strike at the beginning of the new school year. 

SHOW COMMENTS