28 March 2014, News Wires – Workers at Norwegian oilfield service companies could walk out on strike next week if government mediation fails to resolve an impasse after talks on wages and pensions broke down, according to a report.
More than 9000 industrial workers at 102 companies, including major contractors such as Aker Solutions, Kvaerner, Aibel, WorleyParsons and National Oilwell Varco, would be affected by strike action that would be called on 2 April if current mediation talks fail to break the deadlock.
“There is significant distance between the parties. I think we could come to an agreement, but there is no guarantee and there is a risk of a strike up until the point we reach an agreement,” national mediator Nils Dalseide was quoted as saying by Reuters.
“From experience these talks usually go on until the early hours after the deadline,” he added.
Although unions have signalled muted wage demands, they also want pension concessions that employers have said they are not willing to discuss.
Norwegian unions and employers hold wage negotiations every second year and the previous round resulted in a two-week stoppage in 2012 that crippled a large swathe of the country’s offshore sector and was eventually forcibly ended by a state-imposed settlement.