‘Garbage scandal’ spurs Berg probe

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State labour authorities have launched an investigation into how Lan Marie Nguyen Berg, whose Greens Party just won a huge re-election victory in Oslo and other Norwegian cities, handled reports of hundreds of violations of regulations covering overtime law and working conditions at the city’s garbarge and recycling agency (Energigjenvinningsetaten, EGE).

Lan Marie Nguyen Berg was victorious on Election Night but now finds herself in the middle of what Norwegian media are calling a “garbage scandal.” PHOTO: NRK screen grab

Berg is ultimately responsible for the agency that processes and is supposed to recycle the Norwegian capital’s garbage. Officials at the labour authority (Arbeidstilsynet) confirmed to Norwegian Broacasting (NRK) that they were opening a probe into EGE’s operations and Berg’s role in them. Norwegian media have dubbed the situation søppelskandale (a garbage scandal).

The probe was sought by Oslo’s municipal control and disciplinary commission (Kontrollutvalget). It came after NRK reported at least 820 violations at EGE, which admitted to “several hundred violations” last October to the city’s environment and transport department that Berg heads.

She was allegedly slow to follow up on as many as 557 cases of illegal overtime and other labour violations. They have since swelled, further indicating “systematic violations,” and Berg finally hired consulting firm PWC to “clarify the facts” of the matter. The violations reportedly occurred between January 2017 through July of this year.

Now Berg is under investigation herself after her department stressed that it “lacked an overview” of the violations. She told NRK that she takes the situation “very seriously,” while the head of EGE, Hans Petter Karlsen, told NRK his agency would “open all the books we have” and had nothing to hide.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund