200 Offshore Norway Workers Set to Strike Over Wages

Norway's union Industry Energy (Industri Energi) said Thursday that as many as 200 offshore workers on Norwegian oil and gas installations could initiate a strike over a wage dispute.

According to the union, such activity will affect two fixed platforms -- Heidrun and Gulfaks B -- as well as the West Phoenix, Transocean Searcher and Songa Trym floating units.

Arild Theimann, a spokesman for Industry Energy, said that the strikes "will not affect oil and gas production, as least in the short term. But it might affect it longer-term due to delayed drilling and the competition for [units] for subsea wells."

Theimann also noted that the mediation process over wages will commence Monday after negotiations broke down between the union and the Norwegian Shipowners' Association.

Industry Energy issued a statement saying that the union "is weary and tired of the fact that some of the companies have misused the system for guaranteed individual increments to be identical to increments on the wage matrix. The effect is that some positions are now being paid the equivalent of the minimum wage."

Additionally, Theimann reported that discussions would focus on workers being compensated for a percentage that was already agreed upon. "Most of the personnel affected are in the catering units," he said.

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