Hundreds of Norway oil workers go on strike over wages

Jessica Morris
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More than 300 Norweigan oil workers took part in today's strike (Source: Getty)

Hundreds of Norwegian oil workers downed their tools this morning after crunch wage talks broke down yesterday.

The workers, who want higher wages, are at loggerheads with their employers who have already made substantial cost cuts and restructuring efforts as a result of the ongoing oil price rout.

Today's strike involves more than 300 employees across firms Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Halliburton, Oceaneering and Oceaneering Asset Integrity.

Trade union Industri Energi, which is negotiating on behalf of 6,500 members at around 30 companies, has warned that the industrial action could escalate in the coming days and weeks unless a deal is agreed.

It comes as crude prices falling from more than $100 per barrel in June 2014 have forced oil and gas companies to cut costs, scale back or abandon exploration projects and axe jobs. But this has also resulted in tense industrial relations, as workers fear the strain of the industry crisis.

"Supplier companies have been particularly hard-hit by the decline in activity on the Norwegian continental shelf. Many of them have been through a substantial restructuring in recent years," Jan Hodneland, lead negotiator at Norwegian Oil and Gas, said.

"That's involved big cost cuts and constant downsizing. These companies can't cope with further growth in their costs. That would make the position worse both for them and for the people they employ."