A new wage settlement that calls for 2.7 percent pay raises for members of two large trade union federations is supposed to set the tone for all other wage pacts this spring. The leader of Norway’s nurses’ union, however, and 12 other labour federations are not impressed and already claim they’ll demand more.
“We have a whole lot of other challenges in the public sector,” Lill Sverresdatter Larsen, leader of the nurses union (Norsk sykepleierforbund), told newspaper Klassekampen on Monday. Her union will deliver its own demands to the association of municipal employers (KS) and the state, for more pay than that hammered out Sunday after marathon mediation between the private employers’ organization NHO and Norway’s biggest trade union federations LO and YS.
Larsen has long complained that nurses earn much too little to attract the staffing and compentence needed, not least in a pandemic. She has famously stated that nurses, few of whom earn more than NOK 500,000 a year, need more than applause and the gratitude of their patients. They need better pay.
Ragnhild Lied, leader of the large trade union federation Unio that represents teachers and other public sector employees, also expressed dissatisfaction with the NHO/LO/YS wage deal. “It’s supposed to be the norm over time, but it’s not the standard and we are very clear about that.”
Even though LO and YS managed to extract raises higher than the 2.2 percent initially offered by NHO, the settlement still leaves workers with less purchasing power since the cost of living is due to rise 2.8 percent this year.