EPSU’s Standing Committee on Utilities strongly supports Norwegian energy sector’s industrial action

 (5 October 2016) EPSU’s Standing Committee on Utilities meeting today  in Brussels voted unanimously to strongly support the industrial actions currently underway in the Norwegian Energy sector.

The EL and IT Workers Union (EL og IT Forbundet) of The Union of municipal and general employees (Fagforbundet) have been on strike for more than a week in protest against the employer organization KS Bedrift’s efforts to reduce the required hours of rest when workers have been on  stand-by duty.

Addressing today’s meeting Bjorn Fornes of EL&IT said: ‘Our skilled energy workers are covered by  a collective agreement which requires workers to take part in stand-by duties for one week (24/7), for up to 10 weeks of the year.  After carrying out their stand-by duties they have a negotiated right to rest for the next three days of the week. Employers are now attempting to reduce  this rest period to two days, which is wholly unacceptable’.

Bjorn Fornes noted that: ‘Our energy workers have a physically and mentally  challenging job, maintaining  and upholding the distribution grid, in all kinds of conditions, both good and bad. They often have to work in extremely harsh  weather in order to ensure that society has a continuous and stable supply of energy’.

‘We are delighted that EPSU is enthusiastically  supporting our comrades fight to keep  these hard earned  rights. It is always good to remember that their case is our case and that their fight is our fight’, concluded Jan Ruden, President of the EPSU standing committee on Utilities.