AAmid concerns about gas supplies in Europe, the Norwegian government has intervened in strikes by workers on oil and gas platforms in the North Sea. The government wants to force an agreement in the collective bargaining dispute between the Lederne union and the employers’ organization Norsk olje og gass, as stated in a statement on Tuesday evening. At the request of Labor Minister Marte Mjøs Persen, the parties said they would end the strike so that everyone could get back to work as soon as possible.
“It is irresponsible to stop gas production on such a large scale as this strike could result in in the next few days,” said the minister. “The announced escalation is critical in the current situation, both with regard to the energy crisis and the geopolitical situation we are in with a war in Europe.” Norway must do everything possible to help improve energy security in Europe and the to maintain European cohesion against Russia’s warfare, the statement said.
Gas production under pressure
After failed wage negotiations, 74 employees on three Norwegian oil and gas platforms went on strike on Tuesday. The energy company Equinor stopped production at the Gudrun, Oseberg Sør and Oseberg Øst fields as a result of the strike. Another 117 employees wanted to stop work on Wednesday. A renewed extension of the strike was planned for Saturday. “With the announced strike starting July 9, more than half of Norway’s daily gas exports would be lost,” the government said.
“In principle, the parties themselves are responsible for finding a solution in such cases,” explained Minister Marte Mjøs Persen. “But if the conflict can have such major social consequences for all of Europe, I have no choice but to intervene in the conflict.”