More than 100 newspapers around Norway will continue to publish as usual, and Norway’s major commercial TV channel, TV2, will stay on the air after negotiators for the country’s national journalists’ union and owners of media companies came to terms by Friday’s midnight deadline.
Their earlier failure to settle on a new contract had led to mediation, and national mediator Dag Nafstad succeeded in bringing the two sides close enough together to agree on a skisse, or rough draft of a new agreement between Norsk Journalistlag (NJ) and Mediebedriftenes Landsforening (MBL).
All members of NJ will now receive a pay raise of NOK 10,000 (USD 1,700) plus whatever extra raises or terms that local journalist unions (called klubber, or “clubs”) can hammer out with their individual media employers. MBL had initially offered a flat raise of less than NOK 5,000, which NJ had rejected at the same time it complained that Norwegian journalists in general had been lagging behind Norway’s average pay raises of around 3.5-4 percent.
NJ leader Thomas Spence was satisfied with the national settlement but said local pay battles still loomed. MBL negotiators said they were glad a strike, which would have shut down 102 newspapers along with TV2 and news bureau NTB, was avoided but stressed that media companies remain in a difficult situation given recent declines in advertising revenue and newspaper circulation.