Negotiations between oil industry employers and unions representing oil industry workers were supposed to begin on Monday, but both sides have decided to postpone them. Neither felt it was right to talk about pay and benefits just two days after workers being flown home from a North Sea rig were killed when their helicopter crashed outside Bergen.
“It would have been wrong to start negotiations this week,” Jan Hodneland, leader of the employers’ bargaining team, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). He said that several of the member companies in the employers’ organization Norsk olje og gass were hit by the fatal accident, “and we’re thinking of the survivors and colleagues who are affected by this tragedy. It’s a tough time.”
The union representing workers, SAFE, also agreed it was best to wait with negotiations. “The entire oil branch is affected by this accident, and it will demand all our attention in the days ahead,” said Roy Erling Furre, deputy leader of SAFE.
Furre said several other meetings and events have also been cancelled. Oil, gas and offshore companies all over Norway observed a minute of silence at 1pm on Monday, in memory of the 11 colleagues and two pilots killed in the helicopter crash.
“We’ll come back with a new date (for negotiations to begin) later in the week,” Hodneland said.