May 28, 2014 / 6:30 AM / 6 years ago

Norway's oil rig workers reach wage deal, strike threat averted

OSLO, May 28 (Reuters) - Workers operating oil rigs off Norway reached a deal in wage talks with employers on Wednesday to avert a strike after similar negotiations with other oil sector workers broke down in recent weeks.

Two unions representing workers who operate oil drilling rigs reached a deal with the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association, representing their employers, the Safe and Industri Energi unions said.

“We achieved results for some of our demands but had to compromise on other demands in this particular instance,” Hilde-Marit Rysst, head of Safe, said in a statement.

“We are pleased with the overall financial settlement,” Leif Sande, head of the Industri Energi union, said separately.

Two years ago, about 10 percent of Norway’s offshore workers went on strike for 16 days, cutting oil output by 13 percent and gas production by 4 percent.

The dispute ended when oil firms threatened a full lockout and the government stepped in to impose a deal. The strike helped push oil prices above $100 per barrel.

This year, three rounds of talks with other types of oil workers - platform workers, oil services employees and those operating onshore supply bases - have broken down. These are heading for state mediation in the coming weeks.

The first of the mandatory mediation rounds is scheduled for June 16-17.

Unions have said if the talks fail, they would shut down two ExxonMobil platforms and one operated by GDF Suez with combined production of around 80,000 barrels of oil per day.

The government, however, can force through a settlement if it believes a strike would threaten Norway’s economic interests. (Reporting by Gwladys Fouche; editing by Jason Neely)

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