Workers Go On Strike At Hydro Sunndal Aluminium Plant

Workers Go On Strike At Hydro Sunndal Aluminium Plant
The Hydro Sunndal smelter is Europe's largest and most modern facility for primary aluminium production. Source: Norsk Hydro

Negotiations between the union representing Norwegian aluminium producer Norsk Hydro ASA’s labor force at Hydro Sunndal and plant management broke down last week, leading to a strike that is set to commence tomorrow.

Hydro says that negotiations with labor union Industri Energi and Norsk Industri representing management during mediation sessions on August 13 led to the declaration of a strike by a handful of union members only two days later. A lack of a clear resolution has now led to a strike of the entire membership of Industri Energi at Hydro Sunndal, which totals over 600 individuals.

Hydro says a separate agreement between labor and management will govern the production shutdown. Per the agreement, one-fifth of aluminium production will end over the first month of the strike.

The firm assured the market that the strike at Hydro Sunndal will have no effect on any of Hydro’s other operations. Hydro did not indicate the reasons behind the impasse in its press release.

Sunndal began production in 1954 and currently employs a workforce of 700. The plant produces 400 thousand metric tons of primary aluminium, 500 thousand metric tons of casthouse products, and 80 thousand metric tons of anodes each year. The plant’s main products are aluminium extrusion ingot, foundry alloys, and anodes.

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.