Nursing home strike drags on

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A strike by health care workers at privately run nursing homes wrapped up its first week on Wednesday with no sign of settlement in sight. The workers are demanding the same pension benefits paid to health care staff at commercially-run nursing homes.

Negotiations between their labour organization, Fagforbundet, and NHO Service, representing their employers, broke down last week and 64 members were pulled out on strike. “The strike was unavoidable, with a counterpart that absolutely doesn’t value its employees or meet standards in the branch,” Kjellfrid Blakstad of Fagforbundet told newspaper Dagsavisen.

The workers claim that their colleagues in the public sector and at nursing homes run by private foundations have much better pension terms than they have. The employers claimed they were willing “stretch themselves far” to offer better terms, but they weren’t good enough.

Several analysts have speculated that the nursing home workers are unlikely to see their demands met, at a time when many employers are slashing pension programs. One negotiator cited “strong disagreement in principle” between the two sides.

Views and News staff