Norwegian Offshore Union Reaches Wage Agreement

File image courtesy Norwegian Oil and Gas Association

By MarEx 2016-07-06 20:40:29

The Norwegian offshore well services union SAFE and the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association came to a mediated collective bargaining agreement on Wednesday, heading off a strike scheduled to begin at midnight.

SAFE lead negotiator Roy Aleksandersen said that the union had held the line on wages against employer demands for shared sacrifice during the current downturn. 

"[We] have been met with demands from employers who would give our members large revenue losses and undermine the rights they have acquired over decades . . . we have turned all these attacks back," he said. 

The agreement will give all 660 union members a raise, and will slightly increase shift and lodging allowances. In return, the union will work with industry on measures to increase flexibility on shifts and working times in order to help cut costs. 

“We believe the two sides can jointly find good solutions for the sector covered by the agreement through such committee work,” said Norwegian Oil and Gas negotiator Jan Hodneland. “That’ll put efforts to reduce costs on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) on the agenda. We’re pleased to have avoided a conflict.”

The agreement will affect well services employees at the Norwegian operations of Baker Hughes, Halliburton, Oceaneering, Schlumberger, Subsea 7, Vetco Gray and Weatherford. 

Separately, the larger union Industri Energi has been watching the SAFE negotiations with interest. Industri has recently completed collective bargaining negotiations for its operator, drilling and catering members, narrowly averting a strike, and it expects to resume talks with the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association on well services employees now that SAFE has led the way. "[Now] we can concentrate on getting a good settlement for the oil service staff," said Industri Energi's chief negotiator, Ommund Stokka.