State mediator’s death mourned

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Tributes were pouring in this week for Nils Terje Dalseide, the state mediator who has helped ward off many major strikes during the past 14  years. Dalseide died suddenly late last week, right at the end of a demanding spring negotiating season.

National mediator Nils Dalseide was a familiar face on Norwegian TV screens and in the media during winter and spring labour negotiations. He’s shown here heading into mediation with NHO leader Kristin Skogen Lund and LO boss Hans-Christian Gabrielsen in April. He succeeded in warding off what would have been a massive national strike this year. PHOTO: NRK screen grab

No cause of death was immediately revealed but Dalseide, age 65, reportedly had been ill. He died while back in his hometown of Elverum, west of Hamar, and funeral services will be held in Elverum later this month.

“Dalseide was highly respected by both labour organizations and employers,” his deputy Kine Steinsvik told news bureau NTB. Dalseide was named riksmegler (national mediator) on September 1, 2013, but served in the state mediator’s office since 2004.

“As riksmegler he made a great and important contribution to society,” Steinsvik said. “Dalseide will be deeply missed by mediators and employees of the riksmegler’s office.”

‘Lost one of our wisest’
Norway’s Labour Minister Anniken Hauglie of the Conservative Party shared Steinvik’s views of the late Dalseide. “It was with great sorrow we received word of Nils Terje Dalseide’s much-too-early death. Nils has, with his wisdom and ability to win the confidence of both sides in Norwegian worklife, contributed towards solving a series of difficult conflicts and settling them in a good manner.” Hauglie added that she was grateful for Nils Dalseide’s work over the years: “Our warmest thoughts go to his family.”

Daleide also received tributes in newspaper Dagsavisen on Wednesday from both leaders of trade union federation LO Stat, Eivind Gran and Lise Olsen, and their counterparts in the employers’ organization Spekter, Anne-Kari Bratten and Stein Gjerding. Their joint statement hailing Dalseide was a tribute in itself from two sides that are often at odds in labour negotiations. “With the death of Nils Dalseide much too early, Norwegian business and labour has lost one our wisest,” they wrote.

Critical part of the ‘Norwegian model’
“In the Norwegian model (for wage negotiations), both employers and labour organizations adhere to the institution of mediation,” they added. “We always try to avoid a strike. In (the state mediator’s office at) Grensen 3, under Nils Dalseide’s leadership, we found solutions for both questions of principle and other problems, big and small.

“Nils Dalseide was a hard-working, knowledgeable and not least dedicated mediator,” they wrote. “Hardly any of his mediation sessions ended in a strike … we always felt that Dalseide has respected us, our interests and our dilemmas. We will remember him with the greatest respect and in deep gratitude. Norwegian business and labour has become poorer with his loss.”

Other tributes were made by the heads of Norway’s largest trade confederation and the national employers’ organization NHO. Funeral services for Dalseide were set for Thursday June 21 at 1pm at Elverum Church.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund