* State mediation required before strike can be called
* Strike could come in second half of September
* Production workers held strike in July
OSLO, Aug 24 Norwegian oil services workers
broke off wage talks with oil companies on Friday, taking the
sector a step closer to its second strike within two months and
leaving government mediation as the next formal step in the
The talks had resumed after a three-month break on Thursday
and the breakdown increases the likelihood of labour action as
early as the second half of September.
"The parties in the oil services negotiations have formally
ended negotiations," Per Inge Grimsmo, an official at the
Industri Energi trade union, said. "We hope we will talk again
before the mandatory negotiations (with) ... the state
Norway, the world's eighth-largest oil exporter, produces
around 2 million barrels a day of oil, natural gas liquids and
condensate. The country is also Europe's second-biggest gas
supplier. Top oil producers off Norway include Statoil,
Shell, ConocoPhillisp, Eni and BP
Norway's vital oil sector was hamstrung last month when
production workers held a 16-day strike over pay and the right
to early retirement.
The strike cut oil production by 13 percent and natural gas
production by 4 percent. Work resumed only when the government
intervened after oil firms threatened a lock out employees.
Although oil workers are not allowed to strike again within
a two-year period, services workers were not part of the
previous labour action so the limitation does not apply to them.
Services workers are now demanding conditions similar to
those enjoyed by offshore workers who work less for better pay.
"We feel that we presented a good offer with 4 percent
annual wage growth and increased compensation for working nights
and holidays," Eli Ane Nedreskaar, a spokeswoman for the
Norwegian Oil Industry Association, said. "We hope that
negotiations at the state mediators will resolve these issues."