Norway’s national journalists’ union NJ (Norsk Journalistlag) has threatened to call a strike from Saturday after its negotiators failed to reach agreement with the media employers’ organization Mediebedriftenes Landsforening (MBL). TV2 and newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) are among media outlets where journalists and other NJ members may be ordered to walk off the job.
The union representing all journalists in Norway is seeking pay raises of 4 percent, which its leaders claim reflect average wage development in the country. MBL officials claim the pay demand is “very high,” and doesn’t recognize the difficult markets facing most media companies at a time of rapidly changing media habits, a decline in advertising and hard times for newspapers.
The union has identified 102 newspapers that it will call out on strike, including DN, but none of the other major Oslo-based newspapers is targeted, meaning that Aftenposten, VG and Dagbladet will continue to publish as normal. That has infuriated DN Editor Amund Djuve, who told his own newspaper on Tuesday that it seemed like NJ “was trying to ruin the newspaper that already pays the highest salaries of all NJ members and whose journalists have had real local negotiations every single year.” Djuve said that since DN’s major competitors won’t be affected by the strike, “it looked like NJ wants to hit DN especially hard.”
NJ leader Thomas Spence offered no details on how or why DN, which has won a pile of journalistic prizes in recent years, and the other targeted media outlets were selected. They include TV2, which may be forced off the air from Saturday, and news bureau NTB along with 101 other newspapers around the country, most of which are small with the exception of targeted regional dailies such as Stavanger Aftenblad, Adresseavisen in Trondheim, Romerikes Blad, Tønsbergs Blad and Oppland Arbeiderbladet in Hamar.
(NOTE TO READERS: The editor of this website is a member of NJ but not subject to the strike threat.)