Labour clamps down on executive pay

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Norway’s Labour-led government and the head of the country’s trade union federation LO are both warning the management and boards of large Norwegian companies not to reward themselves with big pay raises. That, they argue, would ruin efforts to keep overall salary hikes moderate.

The government, business and the unions are heading into annual wage negotiations and all are calling for modest increases, to control inflation and keep unemployment low. They’re all upset over statistics from last year showing that while average workers’ wages rose 4.3 percent, executive pay in the finance sector rose 16.4 percent.

“Unfortunately we’ve seen this before,” union boss Roar Flåthen, the head of LO, told news bureau ANB. “It’s the bonus programs that push (the high pay) through, and there are enough examples to make me furious.”

Trond Giske, the government minister in charge of business and trade, said he has made it “very clear” to the companies in which the state has large ownership stakes (like banking firm DNB, telecoms firm Telenor and Statoil) that executive pay raises should be restrained. “I’ve gone so far as to say that we will consider replacing boards and board members if they don’t follow the expectations we have for the companies,” Giske said.

Views and News staff