Vinmonopolet workers threaten to strike

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Norwegians may find themselves unable to buy wine and liquor next month, if employees at the state-run Vinmonopolet follow through on their threat to strike over pension demands. They want more influence over what kind of pension plans they’ll have.

Like many other Norwegian employers, Vinmonopolet wants to make changes in its employees’ pension plans, to reduce costs. The employees’ labour union objects and wants its members to have some say in what kind of pension plans they’ll be offered.

News bureau NTB reported that management at Vinmonopolet won’t budge on the pension demand, prompting the lead negotiator for the employees’ union Handel og Kontor (HK) to threaten a strike from Monday September 19, the first business day after the strike deadline at midnight September 17.

“Not a single Vinmonopolet will be kept open,” Christopher Beckham of HK told the labour magazine Fri Fagbevegelse. All 320 sales locations nationwide will be closed, he said.

“We’re planning now how we’ll make Norway dry in the best possible manner,” he added. The union failed to come to terms with employers’ organization Spekter, representing Vinmonopolet management, before the summer holidays. NTB reported it was not up to a national mediator to find a solution before the strike deadline in mid-September.

A Vinmonopolet strike in Norway will likely result in even more business for tax-free stores at Norwegian airports and prompt Norwegians living close to border crossings to drive into Sweden, where prices are also lower.

newsinenglish.no staff