Trade union federations representing public sector employees launched into a new round of negotiations with state and local employers this week. Teachers, nurses and workers at state railway NSB, airports agency Avinor and postal service Posten were among those threatening to strike if their demands weren’t met.
The new negotiations come just after a settlement was reached in overtime last weekend between labour federations and private sector employers. They sorted out thorny problems over pensions and pay after marathon mediation, avoiding a strike that would have pulled around 35,000 workers off the job.
More than 50,000 members of the trade union federation LO Stat, for example, are demanding real wage growth, extra pay for workers in relatively low-income sectors and upgrading of existing agreements. Spekter announced on Wednesday that it was “satisfied” by an initial agreement over preliminary central negotiations that will provide overall pay raises for state employee members of LO and YS of NOK 1,950 per year plus NOK 4,875 for workers with incomes below NOK 417,726. Further negotiations will take place at the local level.
Public sector workers represented by the union federation Unio, including teachers, nurses and day care center workers, are demanding better raises than the 2.8 percent granted in the private sector settlement. News bureau NTB reported that 2.8 percent was “not good enough” for Unio, which expects raises of at least 3 percent even though the public sector usually follows the private sector’s agreement.
“This time, those with higher education must be given priority,” claimed Steffen Handal, who was leading negotiations for Unio. “They have had poor salary development compared with other municipal employees in recent years.” Handal claimed that relatively low pay among teachers, for example, hinders recruitment. LO was also calling for better pay at the municipal level.
Most of the negotiating deadlines for the various groups were set for early May.