10.07.2012 ITF/ETF

The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) yesterday strongly advised Norwegian oil producer Statoil to step back from a planned lockout of its workforce for today.

The Norwegian oil and gas joint Statoil ASA (STO, STL.OS) and other companies represented by Norway’s Oil Industry Association have threatened to lock out workers and shut down production on the Norwegian continental shelf from midnight tonight, in response to industrial action. Oil companies and threetrade unions representing offshore workers have been negotiating over wages,but have failed to reach agreement on workers’ demands for better pension terms. A lockout would put a halt to all oil and natural gas production in Norway, Western Europe’s largest oil exporter and the world’s second-largest exporter of gas.

The Norwegian government, which can impose compulsory arbitration, had asked oil companies and the three unions representing offshore workers — Industri Energi, SAFE and Lederne — to continue talks, but negotiations broke down early on Sunday.

Stephen Cotton, maritime coordinator of the ITF, whose 690 member unions include Norway’s Industri Energi union, said: “This lockout risks creating a significant rise in costs of this conflict and even further escalation.  We urge all sides in this dispute to return to the negotiating table, and further recommend the Norwegian Government join us in condemning this planned lockout.”