All 430 workers at the bankrupt shipyard Kleven Verft in Ulsteinvik have been routinely terminated, but many may get their jobs back and everyone is due to finally be paid what’s owed them on Friday. Bjørn Åge Hamre, the lawyer who’s now serving as administrator of the yard’s estate, hopes all the terminations are temporary.
“Even though everyone has lost their jobs in the old bankrupt company, it doesn’t change the goal we still have, which is to secure a form of ongoing operations,” Hamre told state broadcaster NRK. The long-troubled shipyard, best known for completing the new hybrid cruiseships built for Norway’s Hurtigruten expedition unit, was also in the midst of building a new oil field supply vessel and rebuilding a fishing trawler when its new Croatian owner filed for bankruptcy late last week.
Hamre cited major efforts to “find a solution” through “complex” negotiations with various groups including the yard’s suppliers, banks and creditors. He said they had several concrete “leads” and “good cooperation” with state welfare agency NAV. Yard employees haven’t been paid since May, but now also the yard’s 225 foreign workers hired through teh Kleven company KMC are due to receive income and holiday pay on Friday.
While several offshore industry players feared the Kleven bankruptcy may be the first of many in Norway, as a result of Corona-related economic problems and a lack of new orders, labour union leaders were also optimistic. “I think the process here is going well, and folks are of course glad to get their money now,” union leader Olav Høydalsvik told NRK. He noted that many want to save the yard, which has long been a major employer on the northwest coast.