Norwegian unions seek mediation as wage talks with offshore drillers break down

Labour unions representing thousands of Norwegian offshore rig workers broke off wage negotiations with the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association early on Wednesday, raising the prospect of a walkout later this year.

The parties will go to mediation at a later date, which, if it fails, could end in a strike, the Norwegian trade union Industri Energi said.

The unions represent workers on mobile offshore units as well as platform drilling on permanent installations. The agreement covers around 8,000 members who work for companies such as Noble, Transocean, Odfjell Drilling, Seadrill, Dolphin Drilling, and Saipem.

“The rigging industry is doing well and we must have a wage settlement that ensures that this industry is competitive in the battle for labour. But the distance between the parties is too great for us to reach a settlement now,” said Frode Alfheim, confederation leader of Industri Energi.

Workers in Norway’s collective bargaining system are only allowed to strike if mediation fails. Some two years ago, a similar industrial action was avoided following national mediation in Stavanger.

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