Second Norwegian Offshore Lockout Coming

Monday, October 25, 2004
Norwegian Shipowners' Association (NSA) has given notice of a secondary lockout affecting workers on 94 offshore service vessels and shuttle tankers on the Norwegian continental shelf. The Association is also escalating the lockout of members of the Federation of Oil Workers' Trade Unions (OSF), encompassing members that so far have remained outside the current dispute. The impact of this secondary lockout, which comes into force from midnight, Monday November 8, 2004, will then have immediate effect, and bring the production of oil and gas on the Norwegian shelf to a standstill within a week.

"The conflict in the industry has been going on for almost four months now," says Managing Director Marianne Lie. " It has already cost Norwegian society considerably more than a billion kroner, and has reached a dead lock. A small group, representing less than 20 per cent of all employees, have put the entire industry under pressure to force through demands they know very well NSA would not be able to meet without imposing an enormous strain on company competitiveness," underlines Ms Lie.

"A secondary lockout is the only means we have left to persuade OFS to accept an offer that 80 per cent of the industry's workers have already accepted. When the Association imposes a secondary lockout on offshore service vessels and shuttle tankers, oil companies active on the Norwegian shelf will have to close down oil production operations. More than 2,000 OFS members currently employed on the production platforms will be temporarily laid off," Ms Lie concludes.

The demands pursued by OFS can not be met by the Norwegian Shipowners' Association. The Association has offered to discuss demands of a principle nature in a working group. OFS have refused to take part in any working group, maintaining instead a four-month strike to force acceptance of their demands. A working group with representation from the Norwegian Oil and Petrochemical Workers' Union (NOPEF) and Norwegian Union of Marine Engineers (DSO), is already operative, and they will be discussing these issues with employers' representatives.

The secondary lockout announced today by the Norwegian Shipowners' Association will affect about 2,500 members of the Norwegian Union of Marine Engineers, Norwegian Maritime Officers' Association and Norwegian Seamen's Union on 94 offshore service vessels and shuttle tankers belonging to more than 20 different shipping companies. In addition, the secondary lockout will have an indirect effect on 6,200 workers employed on production installations on the Norwegian shelf.

The Norwegian Shipowners' Association is also escalating the lockout to include 350 OFS members, currently not involved in the ongoing dispute. Every rig operating on the Norwegian shelf, and every drilling installation on the permanent platforms will therefore be affected by the dispute. The lockout will finally affect catering staff employed by Universal Sodexho and Norsk Offshore Catering. The rig industry employs about 4,700 workers all affected. About 13,500 workers on the Norwegian shelf will be affected by the dispute.

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