Compulsory Wage Arbitration in the Industrial Dispute in Norway

Source: 7/5/2022, Location: Europe

To resolve the labour dispute between the union Norwegian Organisation of Managers and Executives (Lederne) and Norwegian Oil and Gas in conjunction with this year's fundamental national settlement, the government is recommending mandatory pay arbitration. The parties have decided to call an end to the strike in order for everyone to quickly return to their positions, as encouraged by Minister of Labor and Social Inclusion Marte Mjos Persen.

The parties have been unable to reach a solution. I have therefore proposed compulsory wage arbitration. The announced escalation has critical implications in the current situation, both in relation to the energy crisis and the geopolitical situation we're facing with war in Europe, says Minister of Labour and Social Inclusion Marte Mjs Persen.

The petroleum strike between Lederne and Norwegian Oil and Gas started on 5 July and Lederne have indicated their intention to escalate the dispute as of 6 July. Additional escalation has been announced as of 9 July.

Based on the announced strike numbers starting on 9 July, more than half of Norways daily gas exports will be lost.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy believes that it would be indefensible to cease gas production in the scope entailed by this strike over the next few days. Production is falling dramatically, and this is highly critical in a situation where the EU and the UK are entirely dependent on their energy partnership with Norway, says Minister of Labour and Social Inclusion Marte Mjs Persen.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasises that Russia's offensive war against Ukraine has had a major impact on security of supply in many European countries. There is an immediate risk of additional energy shortages in Europe. A reduction in Norwegian gas deliveries will worsen the energy crisis, in addition to the inherent political, financial and societal consequences. Norway must do everything in its power to bolster European energy security and European solidarity against Russian aggression.

As a point of departure, the parties are responsible for finding a solution in such instances, and we normally exercise significant restraint before intervening with compulsory wage arbitration. However, the serious consequences of the announced escalations have forced my hand in intervening, says Minister of Labour and Social Inclusion Marte Mjs Persen.

The parties' responsibilities

As encouraged by Minister of Labour and Social Inclusion Marte Mjs Persen, the parties have agreed to end the strike so that everyone can return to their post as soon as possible.

Persen emphasises that she is not happy with the parties shifting responsibility for the conflict's consequences onto the Government.

The parties themselves are generally responsible for finding a solution in such instances. But when the conflict could result in such far-reaching societal impacts for all of Europe, I have no other choice than to intervene in the conflict, the Minister says.

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