OPINION: Governments and businesses around Europe breathed a collective sigh of sigh of relief on Wednesday after Norway’s government stepped in to avert an oilworkers strike that could have cut the nation’s gas exports by almost two thirds.

Norwegian labour laws provide for the government to intervene in industrial disputes usually only in cases of “danger to life and health”.

But given the continent-wide ramifications any production cuts could have had in the current environment of tight supply and spiralling prices, Norwegian Labour Minister Marte Mjos Persen said she had no choice but to propose compulsory wage arbitration to bring the strike to an end.