Norwegian Oil Services Workers Go On Strike

Norway's largest petroleum workers' union ordered 334 members to strike on Friday after negotiations failed to settle a new contract. The strike will hit well service operations on a variety of fields, but production will not be hampered in the short term. Approximately 300 of the workers on strike work with wireline operations for Schlumberger, Baker Atlas and Aker Kvaerner subsidiary Maritime Well Service, while 30 others are offshore employees working for Halliburton business unit, Sperry Sun.

The 18,000-member Norwegian Oil and Petrochemical Union, NOPEF, demanded that oil service workers be granted similar compensation and time off as other workers in the offshore oil sector. The union demanded average wage increases of 6.5 percent, while employers offered 2.9 percent. Last month, the union accepted a 4.7 percent wage hike for other members. The Norwegian Oil Industry Association, representing employers, said the demands were too costly and individual contracts with workers were needed to cover the flexible nature of offshore oil services. "This is a strike for our demands, but also a strike against the employers' unacceptable demand for individual agreements," said NOPEF leader Leif Sande.

The union said it will decide next week whether to expand the strike.