Annual wage talks between Norway’s biggest labour unions and state employers’ organization NHO broke down after four days of talks. Now they’ll go into mediation under threat of a major strike later this spring.
“It wasn’t possible to make any progress in the negotiations,” said Peggy Hessen Følsvik, leader of labour confederation LO. “We therefore have to ask for help from the state mediator.”
Følsvik remains determined to end the past few years of wage settlements in which price growth was higher than wage growth. She and her colleagues are seeking pay raises of more than 5 percent, since this year’s overall price growth is expected to be 4.9 percent. LO’s pay demands became even firmer after news that managers received average compensation hikes of nearly 10 percent last year, while top executives received record high bonuses as well.
“Many companies are doing very well and profits are high,” Følsvik said. “Then we think that employees should of course get their share.”
Mediation is set to begin April 14 with a deadline of midnight on April 15. That’s subject to extension, but LO said it will be ready to call a strike from April 16. Businesses and workers affected by a strike will be identified a few days before mediation gets underway.