Bloomberg News

Norway Oil Strike Talks Unable to Resolve Pension Dispute

July 04, 2012

A strike by oil workers in Norway, Europe’s second-largest oil and natural-gas producer, goes into an 11th day tomorrow after mediation failed to resolve a dispute over pensions.

“It was clear there was no basis to continue the talks,” the SAFE labor union, one of three representing striking oil platform workers, said in a statement on its website. “The strike continues.”

The dispute, the first industrywide strike by energy workers since 2004, began June 24 and is disrupting as much as 250,000 barrels of crude production a day, according to Statoil ASA (STL), Norway’s largest energy company. The Nordic nation produced 1.63 million barrels of oil a day in May, according to the latest data from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.

“After a four-hour-long meeting, the conflict is now even more entrenched than before,” the Norwegian Oil Industry Association, which represents employers, said in a statement. “Unreasonable demands for early retirement mean that we cannot agree.”

The industrial action, which involves about 710 people, has led to the closing of fields including Statoil’s Veslefrikk, Brage, Oseberg South and Oseberg East. The dispute is costing Norway about 15 percent of its crude production and 7 percent of its gas output daily, the industry group said June 27.

Workers from the industry’s three main unions, Industry Energy, SAFE and Lederne, are protesting plans to increase the age at which they receive a company pension beyond the current 62 years, according to Leif Sande, president of Industry Energy.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alastair Reed in Oslo on at areed12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net


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