State mediation is continuing between one of Norway’s largest industrial trade union federations and the employers’ organization Norsk Industri, after initial negotiations between the two broke down last week. Now some worry that conflicts within labour organizations can be as tough as those with their traditional opponents.
State mediator Mats Wilhelm Ruland stepped in after Fellesforbundet and Norsk Industri barely got beyond opening formalities. The trade union federation demands pay hikes high enough to ensure increased purchasing power among members, while industrial employers won’t go along, citing business uncertainties. The two sides agreed only that they weren’t making enough progress, admitting to the mediator that they needed “better structure” for their negotiations.
Meanwhile Norway’s largest trade union federation LO wants its lowest paid members to get the biggest raises, while the Unio federation that represents nurses, teachers, police and other work groups with higher education requirements to get bigger raises than those granted in the private sector. Most agree that nurses and teachers deserve higher pay, especially after the Corona crisis, but LO rejected the nurses demands on the grounds that “the lowest paid must not become victims of the middle-income fight for higher pay.”
Negotiations over a wide spectrum of branches continue through April, with some strikes expected in late spring.