SLB UK (NYSE: SLB) workers in Norway will strike this week having failed to reach agreement with their employer, amid reports that staff are “grossly underpaid” and overworked.
The workers – employed by SLB’s UK arm but stationed in Norway – are set to down tools at midnight on the 30th following a dispute over pay and working conditions.
The Norwegian trade union, Industri Energi, has been in contact with the Unite and RMT unions in the UK as well as Danish unions to coordinate the strike action.
The workers on the Island Captain, which is currently under contract for ConocoPhillips on the Ekofisk field, are set to take industrial action as their package is alleged to not meet the Oil Service Agreement (OSA).
The agreement applies to all employers with staff in Norwegian waters engaged in subsea, drilling and well activities.
The agreement sets limits on the amount of time a worker can spend on shift in a week to an average of 33.6 hours, maximum.
SLB UK told Energy Voice: “We are disappointed that the latest mediation has not resulted in an agreement.
“The salary terms and working environment on the vessel are aligned with relevant laws and regulations.
“We do not compromise on safety and SLB ensures that all its employees are fairly compensated according to HR standards and policies.
“The communication with the SLB UK office remains open to try and reach a reasonable solution.”
30-hour shifts are ‘potential safety hazard’
Deputy leader at Industri Energi, Ommund Stokka said: “It wasn’t possible to reach an agreement.
“SLB UK does not want the oil service agreement to apply in the company and that’s why there was a breach in the negotiations.”
The Norwegian union claim that the SLB staff on the vessel are working under “unacceptable conditions.”
Mr Stokka says that some workers are undertaking “28-30 hour” long shifts, something he describes as “a potential safety hazard” and “unacceptable.”
The union previously carried out an investigation into pay and working conditions for the British employees on the vessel, stating that if demands were not met SLB UK members would take strike action.
It was reported that the crew are being “vastly underpaid” while being offered no compensation for taking on these long working hours.
“This is social dumping, and we can’t accept these conditions on the Norwegian shelf,” Mr Stokka said.
This comes soon after SLB reported an 82% jump in its earnings, as it made $3.4 billion in 2022.
ConocoPhillips recently celebrated the Ekofisk reservoir producing more than three billion barrels, over its 50 years of production.
Hitting first oil in 1971, the field reached the milestone in the autumn of 2021.
Since production started, the Greater Ekofisk Area, comprised of eight fields, has produced six billion barrels of oil equivalent in the Norwegian North Sea.
ConocoPhillips said the asset has generated billions of pounds of value during that time, including significant taxes and fees to the Norwegian government.
Around 3,000 people work on the Ekofisk installations, rigs and vessels, while around 1,000 employees and contractors work offshore at any given time.