Norwegian aluminium producer Norsk Hydro ASA announced over the weekend the commencement of a strike at Hydro Karmøy and Hydro Årdal after contract negotiations broke down.
Hydro said in a press release that a mediation among the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO), the Confederation of the Vocational Unions (YS), and the Norwegian Labor Union (LO) collapsed, leading to the workforce at Industri Energi and FLT at Hydro Karmøy and Hydro Årdal to declare a strike that was scheduled to begin this morning.
The firm said the implementation of the strike is per a separate agreement and will be implemented in a gradual manner, which Hydro says will slowly affect both plants. As ramping down operations too quickly will harm aluminium smelting equipment, the company estimates that it will be several months before the strike is fully implemented.
Hydro expects that shipping activities at both plants will slow significantly during the strike, with delivery delays all but certain. The firm says it will sell off any surplus power generated by the strike on the open market.
The unionized employees at the accounting department at Sunndalsøra also went on strike over the weekend. Hydro did not identify whether that strike would negatively impact customers.
The firm did not identify the issues or reasoning leading to the breakdown in mediation or the strike at Sunndalsøra.
Norsk Hydro, which was founded in 1905, financed by the Swedish Wallenberg family and French banks, began its life named Norsk hydro-elektrisk Kvælstofaktieselskab (literally, “Norwegian hydro-electric nitrogen limited”) by Sam Eyde. The Norwegian government owns approximately 40% of the company at the present time. Norsk Hydro is one of the largest aluminium companies in the world, with plants in Rjukan, Raufoss, Vennesla, Karmøy, Høyanger, Årdal, Sunndalsøra, and Holmestrand. Norsk also has several plants abroad.