Norsk Helikopter Workers Go on Strike

Transportation to and from offshore rigs in the North Sea was disrupted Thursday after technicians for Norsk Helicopters walked off the job. A state mediator failed to get the workers and management to agree on pay and benefits. Helicopter at Heidrun FieldA midnight contract deadline passed on Wednesday but both sides continued talking until 4:40am Thursday, when a mediator declared an impasse. The strike affects 33 technicians based at airports in Stavanger, Bergen and Bronnoysund. The strike grounds all 10 helicopters operated by Norsk Helicopters, which is the main carrier transporting offshore oil workers between the mainland and Statoil's Sleipner and Heidrun fields and TotalFinaElf's installations at the Frigg field. The company recently announced a five-year contract with Statoil for service to and from Statoil's Norne field.

Norsk Helicopter had offered the technicians raises of 3 percent plus the country's consumer price index, rising to 4 percent next year. The technicians were holding out for 6 percent plus the CPI. The two sides also failed to agree on terms governing how seniority within the company is calculated.