Strike threat looms

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Norway’s largest trade union in the private sector, Fellesforbundet, has broken off negotiations with employers’ organization Norsk Industri. That means nearly 35,000 union members working in more than 800 companies may go on strike from Sunday.

A strike would affect operations at such large companies as Hydro Aluminium, Raufoss Technology and Kongsberg Automotive along with a wide range of smaller companies mostly in the metals, textiles and packaging sectors.

At issue are wages and benefits that can set the tone for other collective bargaining negotiations this spring, including those in the public sector.

Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that Norsk Industri leaders don’t want any wage hike of more than 3 percent and that they’re demanding more flexible work hours, with “ordinary working hours” extended by two hours, from 6am to 6pm. The union has stated in broad terms that it wants its members’ purchasing power to be upheld.

Now it’s up to state mediator Kari Gjesteby to try to find a solution, as the bargaining process entered forced mediation on Wednesday. She has four days to get the two sides to iron out their differences, if a strike is to be avoided.

Views and News staff