Norway’s oil companies and the industry’s biggest union had set aside two days to negotiate over wages for offshore workers. Instead, the talks broke down after less than a minute.
The failure shows the width of the gap that will need to be bridged in state-backed mediation if Norway, western Europe’s biggest producer of oil and gas, is to avoid strikes that would deepen the crisis provoked by the collapse of crude prices since 2014.
The breakdown of wage talks for offshore workers on production platforms, where a strike would have immediate consequences on output, comes after negotiations stranded earlier this month for workers on oil-rigs and onshore supply bases. The risk of several strikes comes as Norway’s economy is already suffering more than during the financial crisis, with offshore investments set to drop for a third consecutive year in 2017 and about 40,000 jobs lost in the oil industry.