Workplace Mediation for Norwegian Oil Services Workers
Oil services workers from Norway are headed for government-sponsored workplace mediation within the next week or so. If that doesn't work out, the Norwegian oil industry may see its second strike in as many months.
Workplace Mediation Just a Pass-Through?
There are those who are worried that the state mediation will simply be a formal step, one more hoop for the workers to jump through before the strike. Norway's oil production workers engaged in a crippling strike in July. T
he strike lasted just over two weeks, and cut oil production by 13% and natural gas production by 4%. The Norwegian government intervened before the companies performed a lockout on the workers.
Oil production workers are forbidden from going on strike for the next two years. But oil services workers are under no such restrictions.
Oil services workers are required to go through state-sponsored mediation services with the oil companies before going on strike. If those talks do not work, however, the workers could go on strike before the end of September.
What The Workers Want from Mediation
The oil services workers are in wage talks with oil companies such as Shell, ConocoPhillips, and Statoil (among others). The workers want conditions similar to those of the offshore workers, claiming that offshore workers claim make better pay for working less.
Negotiations at an End, Entering Mediation Services
The services workers and the oil companies resumed talks on Thursday, August 23, after not talking for three months. The workers broke off talks on Friday, August 24.
Norway is the world's 8th-largest producer of crude oil. It produces in the area of 2 million barrels a day of crude oil and natural gas liquids & condensate.
If the workers and oil companies fail to come to an agreement during the government-sponsored mediation services, it will likely mean trouble for Norway's crude industry.