Norway’s largest trade union has said it is disappointed after the country’s Labour Party committed to ending Arctic oil exploration.
The opposition party announced it will protect the Lofoten area after being handed a petition of 53,000 signatures from around the world.
“For more than a decade we have been advocating for the Labour Party to stand on the right side of history and vote to protect one of the world’s most vulnerable and unique marine areas against oil and gas development,” said Ingrid Skjoldvaer, the deputy chair of pressure group Folkeaksjonen.
However, the move faced pushback from both friends and foes. The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) said it was “disappointed” by the decision, supported by the Labour Party’s youth wing (AUF).
“AUF and other advocates should not have done this,” Jorn Eggrum, a leader in one of LO’s affiliate unions, told the VG newspaper.
Meanwhile the minister of petroleum and energy Kjell-Børge Freiberg said the decision could have a major impact on Norway’s oil industry.
“I believe this is a fight for the future of the petroleum industry in the north, not about Lofoten as the Labour Party is trying to portray,” he told VG. “This is … the beginning of oil decommissioning.”