Norway Oil-Services Strike May Be Avoided After Wage Deal Struck

Oil-service workers and employers in Norway said they reached a wage agreement that could avoid a strike in Western Europe’s largest oil and gas producer if union members approve the terms of the deal.

The parties agreed to a general pay raise of 4.5 percent as well as other increases for as many as 5,800 workers, Norwegian Oil and Gas, which represents employers, said in a statement today. Oil service workers affiliated with the Industry Energy union will vote on the draft deal “within four weeks,” its chief negotiator, Leif Sande, said in a telephone interview.

“It’s a good deal from an economic point of view, but less so on working shifts,” Sande said, declining to say whether he would advise his members to vote for or against the agreement.

Sande had previously said there was a “high risk” of a strike by about 360 workers at companies including Halliburton Co. and Schlumberger Ltd. The parties were due to meet for government-led mediation on Oct. 1 and Oct. 2 after talks broke down last month.

An oil-worker strike over pensions at the end of June and at the beginning of July disrupted 15 percent of Norway’s oil production and 7 percent of gas output, according to figures from Norwegian Oil and Gas. The conflict was ended by the government through forced arbitration as a total shutdown loomed.

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