SLB UK strike on the Ekofisk field: Sympathy strike announcement

Industri Energi and LO have informed the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association that 51 members of Industri Energi Archer will go on a sympathy strike. This strike notice is a response to SLB UK’s use of non-union labor to perform the tasks of our striking members on the Ekofisk field.

Members of Industri Energi at the oil services company SLB UK have been on strike since March 31 to secure a collective bargaining agreement. SLB UK provides well stimulation services from the vessel Island Captain on the Ekofisk field, where ConocoPhilips is the operator. The strike was intended to significantly reduce this work, but it has had little effect because SLB UK has employed non-union labor to carry out the tasks of the striking workers.

– This behavior is unprecedented in Norwegian labor relations. In order to ensure the effectiveness of the strike, we find it necessary to announce a sympathy strike, says Ommund Stokka, deputy head of Industri Energi.

Utilizing a powerful tool to secure a collective bargaining agreement

The sympathy strike will halt maintenance work in the wells. Additionally, Archer assists SLB UK in well stimulation work, which will also come to a stop.

– It is a powerful tool we are now employing, but it is also absolutely necessary. This is the first time in modern history that we have encountered such behavior on the Norwegian continental shelf, and our entire union is ready to do whatever it takes to succeed in demanding something as fundamental to Norwegian labor relations as a collective bargaining agreement, says Stokka.

Ommund Stokka, deputy head of Industri Energi. Photo: Egil Brandsøy.

He explains that the systematic efforts against social dumping and for an organized labor market with collective bargaining agreements have been central throughout the life of the Oil Service Agreement.

– Ensuring equal working conditions for everyone on the Norwegian continental shelf has always been our top priority. As long as you work on the Norwegian continental shelf, the nationality of either the employee or the employer should not matter, he says.

The Norwegian continental shelf should not be a battleground for a race to the bottom

The SLB UK employees on board the “Island Captain” perform work covered by the Oil Service Agreement, but both wages and working conditions are below industry standards. They work on a 28-28 rotation with wages significantly below the collective agreement, without compensation for overtime or night work.

The well stimulation vessel “Island Captain” at the quay in Esbjerg. The vessel uses the Danish oil city as a supply base for its activity on the Norwegian continental shelf. Photo: Christopher Talgø

Stokka explains that the struggle for a collective bargaining agreement at SLB UK also concerns the competitive conditions among companies, and the industry itself has a strong interest in SLB UK recognizing that they are in Norway when performing work on the Ekofisk field.

– If they are allowed to engage in wage and working condition dumping, it creates unfair competitive conditions and the risk of a race to the bottom on the continental shelf. We will not accept SLB UK turning the Ekofisk field into an arena for such an unfair competition, he firmly states.

The sympathy strike has a notice period of 21 days and will begin on September 27.