Call to join stoppage

October 14, 1998, 10:00 CEST

Union members in Statoil are being urged to join a "political" strike in Norway on 15 October.

This stoppage is a protest against the centrist coalition government's budget proposals for 1999, which would eliminate one day of holiday.

If personnel heed the call to down tools, almost 7,000 people at offices in Norway will cease work tomorrow afternoon. More than two-thirds of parent company employees are unionised.

The unions say that the strike will not have consequences for Statoil's production facilities offshore or on land. Other activities relating to safety or emergency response will be maintained in an acceptable manner.

Employees who leave their place of work to join the stoppage must record the period as absence/time off in lieu.

The Norwegian Association for Supervisors, the Norwegian Oil and Petrochemical Workers Union (Nopef), the Confederation of Professional Unions (YS) and the Norwegian Society of Engineers (Nito) are backing a stoppage from 14.00 to 16.00, in line with the national strike call.

However, the Statoil branch of the Norwegian Society of Chartered Engineers (NIF) wants its members to stop work for just one hour, from 14.00 to 15.00.

Although the national board of the society favours the two-hour halt, the branch regards the shut-down as a protest against the government rather than Statoil.

The standing committee for finance in the Storting (parliament) is due to present its recommendations on the government's budget proposals on 18 November.

Plans to increase the tax burden on oil companies by 0.5 per cent are the main issue of concern in the budget for the offshore sector.