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Major Strike At Europe’s Largest Oil Refinery Ends

Trade unions have agreed to end a week-long strike at Europe’s largest oil refinery - Shell’s 404,000 bpd Pernis refinery in the Netherlands—after the parties resolved a dispute over wages that had seen the refinery operating at reduced rates since early April.

The trade unions will advise workers to end the strike, CNV union spokesman Piet Verburg told Reuters on Friday.

Shell has offered improved terms in the collective labor agreement and a wage rise of 3 percent this year, 2 percent next year, and 2.5 percent in 2021, a spokesman for the supermajor told Reuters on Thursday.

“Shell has offered an improved and ultimate proposal for the Collective Labour Agreement (CLA) for Pernis and Moerdijk to the unions,” the spokesman said.

Unions had initially wanted a 5-percent wages increase, while Shell was offering a 2-percent raise this year and another 2.5-percent salary increase next year, according to earlier reports by Reuters.

Oil products output at the refinery has been reduced after workers started the strike on April 8.

At the end of last month, CNV said that workers would reduce production at the Pernis refinery and the Moerdijk chemical plant beginning on April 8 and would keep output at lower levels until workers’ demand are met.

The union had given no indications of the amount of output reduction, but Pernis is the largest oil refinery in Europe, and the point is to reduce output to a level that would force Shell to meet demands for higher wages.

A day after the strike began, Shell said on April 9 that the industrial action had “a significant impact” on the refinery’s operations.

A week later, unions were still at odds with Shell over pay rises and on April 16 the Dutch trade unions decided to extend the strike at least until Shell tables an offer that would re-open negotiations.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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