Labour Party, LO support Color Line workers

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Norway’s Labour Party and the country’s largest trade union confederation, LO, are backing demands by the Norwegian Seafarers’ Union that the government drop plans to let Color Line re-flag to the Norwegian International Ships Register (NIS). The move would allow Color Line to replace as many as 700 workers on board its cruise ferries Color Magic and Color Fantasy with lower-paid foreign workers.

Trade Minister Monica Mæland of the Conservatives “must stop this proposal,” said Else-May Botten, a Member of Parliament for Labour who sits on its business and trade committee. If the proposal isn’t stopped, Botten claimed that “we will review the regulations when we win the autumn election.”

Newspaper Dagsavisen reported earlier this week that LO has also demanded a retreat by Mæland on the issue that has created job uncertainty for Color Line crews for several years. Mæland has claimed that if the NIS rules aren’t eased to make way for Color Line, the ferry company may follow through on threats to move its entire operation to Denmark and sail under foreign flag. Mæland argues that would cost as many as 2,500 jobs instead of 700.

Frode Jacobsen of Labour’s local chapter in Oslo notes that most of the 700 jobs threated now are in Oslo, prompting other demands that Mæland find a solution for threatened workers. Jacobsen and others have claimed that Mæland is “too passive” and asked Labour to keep pressuring her. Labour failed, however, to win support for a proposal that would ensure Norwegian pay and benefit levels in Norwegian waters.

newsinenglish.no staff