Unions delegation at Fagforbundet Congress Oslo 17-18 October 2022
(18 October 2022) Increasing wages, ensuring members have good pensions, safe workplaces, youth representation, and recruitment and organising were among the topics discussed by delegates of Fagforbundet at its Congress. With speakers from across the government parties addressing Congress, delegates from the different branches engaged in discussions about government policy and what the government is delivering for workers and communities. Norway has introduced windfall taxes on high profits from energy and salmon farms. These taxes return funds for public services. The issues were very familiar for many of the representatives of the union delegations from other countries that attended the Congress. We face many of the same struggles.
Apart from speakers from the coalition parties of the Red-Green government, the mayor of Oslo spoke of the Oslo (and now Norwegian) model of development of cities. It is combined with strong conditionalities over the use of public funding. The LO-President spoke of the battles for addressing cost-of-living and redistribution of wealth among other things.
The EPSU General Secretary addressed Congress around the role of public services so societies can deliver on people’s human rights including to a warm home, on the demands of the European trade unions for comprehensive measures to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and why the fight against the extreme-right and fascism is existential for public service workers. We want to deliver inclusive public services with inclusive work places where people can feel safe to be who they are. He further recalled the success of Fagforbundet to bring back the waste sector into public ownership, and the recent win to get drivers permanent jobs in the postal service.
An EPSU delegation met striking workers in private childcare facilities in Oslo. The childcare workers in the private sector are striking to get decent pensions that were agreed but for which the employers now say there is no money. They are seeking to protect their profit margins. The EPSU General Secretary met with the Campaign for the Welfare State. Together with unions it is campaigning for an end to the commercialisation of welfare services like elderly and childcare.
Mette Nord and Odd-Haldgeir Larsen (President and Vice-President) were up for re-election later in the week. The Fagforbundet Congress met 17-21 October 2022 in Oslo.
Ten facts about the privatisation of social services: