Head of Norwegian oil sector union says pay deal ‘good enough’

Two of the three unions that negotiated the deal last week are seeking membership approval before formally endorsing it. If they don’t, a strike could affect oil production.

Norway is the largest oil producer in Western Europe.

One of the two unions, Safe, did not make a formal recommendation to its members, but its leader said she thought the deal was satisfactory.

“If people ask me personally, I would recommend accepting the deal. I think it’s a good deal,” Hilde-Marit Rysst told Reuters.

Union members have until June 30 to approve or reject the deal by a simple majority. If the turnout is below 50%, the union leadership decides whether to strike or not, Rysst said.

The other union seeking membership approval, Lederne, did not respond to requests for comment.

The third union involved in the talks, Industri Energi, approved the deal without seeking a green light from members.

PURCHASING POWER

Under the agreement, offshore workers directly employed by companies operating the fields, such as Equinor, Aker BP or ConocoPhillips, will see their annual salaries increased by 32,200 crowns ($3,207).

In addition, workers in offshore drilling and catering companies will receive an additional 6,238 crowns per year, bringing their total wage increase to 38,438 crowns.

This translates into an average wage increase of 4.6% for skilled workers or technicians at oil companies and 5.4% for drilling and restoration companies, according to a Reuters calculation based on data provided by Industri Energi. .

The wage increase is better than the 3.7% agreed in a framework agreement between Norway’s main employee and employer organizations in April, which sets the benchmark for sectoral wage negotiations in Norway .

Since that deal was struck, however, inflation in Norway has picked up, with core inflation hitting 5.7% in May year-on-year, with the statistics agency expecting prices increase by 4.7% in 2022, against 3.3% that it forecast in March.

($1 = 10.0420 Norwegian kroner)

(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis; Editing by Mark Potter)

By Nerijus Adomaitis

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