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Oil workers prevailed in a historic strike in Norway

9 British oil workers went on strike for almost a year. Now they get a collective agreement and pay rises. The LO union IE&FLT has now won a long-term strike on the Norwegian continental shelf. This happens on the evening IE&FLT was supposed to step up with sympathy strikes in several oil companies. This is not only an important victory for the nine, but for everyone who works on the Norwegian continental shelf! This was about something as fundamental as collective agreements and the right to organize.

Nine members, employed by a foreign company, demanded Norwegian wages and working conditions on the Norwegian continental shelf. After almost a year on strike, they have now won. The nine workers usually work with well stimulation on the Ekofisk field, from the vessel "Island Captain". It is this work that Industri Energi has demanded to be covered by Norwegian wage and working conditions. During the strike, three of the members were dismissed, and six ordered to work around the world.

The background for the strike was that Industri Energi believes SLB UK is engaging in social dumping on board the vessel "Island Captain", which is under contract for ConocoPhillips on the Ekofisk field. The workers here carry out work according to the oil service agreement, but both wages and working conditions are far from the level in the industry. Therefore IE&FLT demanded a collective agreement for its members, which the company refused to comply with.

While the workers have been on strike, the company has used strike breakers as replacements for the striking workforce.

Sympathy strikes

LO and IE&FLT recently won a historic judgment in the labor court, which established that the strike in SLB UK could be supported with sympathy actions. The Labor Court ruled unanimously that it is Norwegian law and Norwegian courts that determine the legality of strikes that apply to demands for Norwegian wages and working conditions for work in Norway and on the continental shelf, also in cases where the employer is a foreign company.

Earlier in February, IE&FLT therefore could announce an extension of the conflict. The sympathy strike would include 75 members at ConocoPhillips, Archer and OneSubsea. This would have meant that maintenance work in the wells and well stimulation on the Ekofisk field would have stopped from midnight on 28 February.

A few hours before the 75 additional IE&FLT members were to initiate a sympathy strike in support of the nine, the parties reached a negotiated solution: The nine members are now covered by a collective agreement that provides Norwegian wages and working conditions, and that the three who lost their jobs during the strike will get their jobs back. Everyone who works at "Island Captain" will receive Norwegian wages and working conditions.

SLB UK uses the vessel "Island Captain" to perform well stimulation at Ekofisk. Photo Sondre Solvang, Island Offshore



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