Norwegian Minister of Labour Hanne Bjurstrøm last night at 23:55 informed the parties involved in the offshore pay dispute that the government would propose to Parliament that the conflict be resolved by compulsory arbitration. At the request of the Minister the parties are to resume work as soon as possible.
“It is a responsible choice made by the government tonight,” said last night Jan Hodneland, chief negotiator, OLF, the association which represents the oil companies.
The Labour Minister called the parties 30 minutes before the previously announced lockout would begin, and declared the conflict as over. She said that the national wage arbitration tribunal would make a binding decision in the on-going labour dispute.
“We are now relieved that we do not have to shut down the production on the Norwegian continental shelf, however, we were ready to initiate a lockout if the government did not intervene,” concluded Hodneland.
However, the workers’ unions are far from happy. The representatives from SAFE and Industri Energi in a joint statement said that they received the government’s decision with great disappointment.
“We had hoped and believed that Bjurstrøm had enough guts to resist the game of the OLF. This confirms that the oil industry once again can order compulsory arbitration to threaten to shut off the shelf, and thus escape from the real negotiations and legal disputes offshore. How can we fight for our demands and our conditions when employers can speculate compulsory arbitration every time it is hotting up,” said Leif Sande and Hilde-Marit Rysst, the leaders of Industry Energi and SAFE respectively.
The strike lasted for 16 days and, according to the OLF, caused losses of 3,1 billion NOK (USD 510 million) both for the companies involved and for the Norwegian society.
Norway’s oil giant, Statoil, has informed this morning that it is preparing to resume production at installations that have been affected by the strike.
Statoil installations that have been affected by the labour dispute are the Oseberg Field Centre, Oseberg South, Oseberg East, Oseberg C, Heidrun, Huldra, Veslefrikk and Brage.
“Production from these installations will be resumed as quickly as possible. It may take from 1 to 2 days to get production started and Statoil expects to have the fields back in full production within a week,” said Statoil in a press release.
Offshore Energy Today Staff, July 10, 2012