Norway government ends oil and gas strike

Norway is the world's fifth-largest oil exporter Norway is the world's fifth-largest oil exporter

Related Stories

Norway's government has used emergency powers to step in and force offshore oil and gas workers back to work, ending a 16-day strike.

Production was due to be shut down from Tuesday with companies set to lock out workers in a dispute over pensions.

"I had to make this decision to protect Norway's vital interests," Labour Minister Hanne Bjurstroem told Reuters.

She was speaking after a last-ditch effort was made to end the row between energy companies and trade unions.

The intervention means that the National Wages Board will facilitate "forced abritration" to end the row over retirement rights. It is unclear how long this process will take.

It means there will be no lockout of the 6,500 offshore energy workers and they will carry on working as normal.

"It wasn't an easy choice, but I had to do it," the labour minister said.

Leif Sande, the leader of the largest trade union Industri Energi, said workers would return to work immediately.

"It's very sad. The strike is over," he told journalists.

Brent Crude Oil Futures $/barrel

Last Updated at 18 Apr 2014, 02:45 ET *Chart shows local time Brent Crude Oil Future intraday chart
price change %
109.53 -

Norway's three main unions have been on strike for 16 days. The dispute is over offshore workers' demand for the right to retire early, at 62, with a full pension.

The row centres on the elimination of a pension add-on introduced in 1998 for workers who retire at 62, three years ahead of the general age for oil workers and five years ahead of Norway's official retirement age.

The government possesses emergency powers giving it the right to force an end to a strike if it believes that safety is being compromised or national interests are being harmed.

Oil prices had risen on Monday, before the government's intervention, as it looked like a shutdown was nearing.

In London, Brent crude jumped more than $2 to above $100 a barrel, before dropping back slightly.

Norway, the world's fifth largest oil exporter, has already seen its oil production cut by 13% and its gas output by 4% since the strikes began on 24 June.

OLF, the Norwegian Oil Industry Association, estimates this has cost Norway 2.9bn kroner (£300m) in lost production.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories



  • The OfficeIn pictures

    Fifty landmark shows from 50 years of BBC Two

  • French luxury Tea House, Mariage Freres display of tea pots Tea for tu

    France falls back in love with tea - but don't expect a British cuppa

  • Peter MatthiessenPeter and Paddy

    Remembering two of the greatest travel writers

  • Chinese GPRace ace

    Lewis Hamilton builds edge in F1 championship BBC Sport

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.