Norway will not intervene in a strike by the country’s oil workers unless the conflict escalates significantly, labour minister Hanne Bjurstroem said today.
“For the government to intervene, a conflict must pose a danger to life and health or have great consequences to society. As we see it now, we are far from that point.”
The government has the authority to step in to force a settlement because the sector accounts for a fifth of the Nordic nation’s gross domestic product and nearly half of its exports.
The strike, which started on Sunday, has already affected about 11% of Norway’s oil output of 1.6million barrels per day and about 4% of its gas production.
Wage talks broke off after the Norwegian Oil Industry Association refused to negotiate early retirement for the sector’s 7,000 workers.
Union workers are due to meet Friday to discuss a possible escalation of the strike, while oil companies could declare a lockout to halt all production on the Norwegian continental shelf and force the government to take action.