Oil Companies in Norway Hoping Mediation Will Help after Talks Break Down
Norwegian oil companies are hopeful that mediation can help them reach a settlement over wages now that information negotiations between the two sides have broken down. The breakdown set the state for an upcoming mediation that could prevent a strike.
According to Norwegian Oil and Gas, mediation is likely to take place later this year. Norwegian Oil and Gas is an organization handling the negotiations on behalf of Norway’s oil firms, including Equinor, the country’s top producer.
Per the country’s collective bargaining rules, Norway’s two largest unions - The Norwegian Union of Industry and Energy Workers (Industri Energi) and the Norwegian Union of Energy Workers (Safe), representing about 6,000 workers, are not permitted to strike this year. However, the third smaller union involved in negotiations does have the right to strike if a resolution is not reached. That union includes approximately 1000 workers and despite it being the smallest of the three groups, would still have an impact on Norway’s oil and gas production, as well as the entire area, if it went on strike.
Thus far, no date has been scheduled for mediation, though it is expected to take place within 2019.
Should the state-appointed mediator overseeing the process no succeed in brokering a deal, the Norwegian Organization of Managers and Executives will be given permission to launch a strike. The union has not officially commented on the potential for a strike, most likely because all parties are still hoping to come to a resolution in mediation.
Norway is the largest producer of crude and natural gas in Western Europe.