16 June 2014, News Wires – Unions have threatened strike action that could halt production from platforms operated off Norway by ExxonMobil and GDF Suez unless an agreement is reached in arbitration talks by midnight on Tuesday.
The talks involving a state mediator will now take place between the Safe and Lederne unions and industry body Norwegian Oil & Gas (Norog) only on Tuesday, rather than starting on Monday as earlier planned, giving less time to reach a deal.
The two unions earlier refused to agree a pay pact offered by the association, which was accepted by the Industri Energi union, as they are holding out for improved pension rights.
Safe has warned that if the latest talks fail it would take 190 workers out on strike at the ExxonMobil-operated Ringhorne and Balder fields in the North Sea while Lederne has said 76 workers could down tools on the GDF Suez-operated Gjoa platform.
A shutdown of the facilities would result in the loss of about 100,000 barrels per day of oil and 15 million cubic metres of gas production, or 7% of Norway’s total output, Reuters reported.
A stoppage on Gjoa would also affect the nearby Statoil-operated Vega field that is tied back to the platform.
Norog has meanwhile referred Safe’s proposed action to Norway’s Labour Court, claiming such a strike to resolve a legal dispute with ExxonMobil over pensions would be illegal.
Further state mediation talks between unions representing workers at onshore supply bases is expected to take place on 19 to 20 June.