Feb. 27, 2019 The YS group of unions is looking for substantial real wage growth in this year's negotiations on pay. Its recent conference on wages highlighted the fact that while wages increased on average by 2.8% in 2018, this marked only a small increase in real terms as prices rose by 2.7%. In fact the union points out that on average wages in real terms are no different from five years ago and so with unemployment falling and a relatively positive outlook it is time for trade unions to push for higher wage growth.
Feb. 14, 2019 The Fagforbundet public service union is continuing to pursue legal action against the Aleris care company which it believes has major implications for labour rights in Norway. The company is being challenged over using self-employed workers that it calls "consultants" rather than directly employing care staff. The "consultants" have no employment rights and have been forced to work long hours of overtime, including up to 72 hours without a break, for fear of being denied work. They have no sickness or pension benefit or protection against dismissal. Aleris Care is now part of the Ambea group of companies which has renamed the operations Stendi.
Jan. 30, 2019 More members of the Fagforbundet public service union in the care sector are taking legal action over their employment status. A case is already underway against the Aleris company and further action has now been started against the Heimte Vitale care company where three workers are claiming rights and compensation as employees rather than as self-employed "consultants". Fagforbundet sees these as important cases and says other contractors who try to cut costs by using "consultants" should pay close attention to what's happening in the court.
Jan. 18, 2019 The Fagforbundet public services union reports that its legal action against the Aleris social care multinational began on 14 January. The union brought the action on behalf of workers who argue that they are employees of the company and not "consultants" as claimed by Aleris. As self-employed consultants they have far fewer rights and Aleris was able to exploit them, for example, by giving them excessively long shifts. Fagforbundet sees the case as a key challenge to social dumping, highlighting the negative impact not just on the workers but also the quality of service to groups of very vulnerable people.
Jan. 03, 2019 The Oslo District Court has rejected the attempt by the Aleris multinational care company to use European law to prevent workers claiming their rightful status as employees. Thirty-seven workers, supported by the Fagforbundet trade union, have launched legal proceedings against the company which has denied them employment rights by classifying them as consultants rather than employees (see epsucob@NEWS 16 and 17, 2018). The trade union accuses the company of trying to intimidate individual workers and employing teams of highly-paid lawyers to try to block their claims in the court. A case involving 24 of the 37 workers will be heard in the Oslo District Court on 14 January.
Nov. 23, 2018 On 20 November the government announced compulsory arbitration to end a dispute between the NSF nurses' union and the NHO private employers' organisation. The union had called a strategic strike of 55 nurses on 25 October to protest against the NHO agreement having lower minimum pay and sickness benefit rates compared to the agreement negotiated with municipal employers. NSF has found examples of nurses' annual salaries in NHO employers that are NOK 30000-100000 (EUR 3200-10000) lower than in the public sector. After three weeks of strike action the NHO imposed a lockout on all 501 NSF members in NHO organisations prompting the government to intervene on the basis that the lockout posed a threat to patients' health.
Nov. 02, 2018 The Fagforbundet public service union has revealed figures showing that care workers in the private sector in Oslo are between EUR 7000 and EUR 8700 worse off than those in the public sector. A starting salary for a graduate care worker in the public sector is NOK 367000 (EUR 38500), NOK 84000 more than the same worker in the private sector. Those on minimum wages in the sector are EUR 7000 better off if employed by the municipality. Fagforbundet also says that private sector workers are more likely to face heavier workloads as a result of understaffing. Fourteen of the 40 care homes in Oslo are currently run by the private sector although the municipality has plans to gradually bring them back under public management.
Sep. 14, 2018 Employees of the FUS private childcare company are getting a 2.8% pay rise which will mean annual pay increases of between NOK 8900 (EUR 890) and NOK 14200 (EUR 1420) depending on occupation. There will also be a NOK 56 (EUR 5.60) additional payment per hour for late shifts beginning after 17.00. FUS has 175 kindergartens around the country attended by 13000 children. The settlement is in line with that negotiated recently with the PBL private childcare employers' federation. Negotiations involved public services unions Fagforbundet and Delta as well as the teachers' union.
Aug. 30, 2018 More workers have come forward to join legal action against the Aleris care company following revelations about employment and working conditions made earlier this month (see epsucob@NEWS 16). Public service union Fagforbundet says that the company is avoiding its social, employment and tax obligations by taking workers on as self-employed "consultants" rather than employees. The union has taken this up with the authorities and a further eight workers have joined the 17 who were already involved in legal action. Some of these workers have been summarily dismissed or are given excessive hours or shifts that are impossible to cover. Revelations from one worker even accuse the company of putting him under pressure to get drugs for residents.
Aug. 16, 2018 The Fagforbundet trade union has reported the Aleris Ungplan and Boi private care company to the authorities for possible breaches of labour, health and safety, tax and even criminal law. The union has taken up cases for a number of workers who have been denied their rights on pay, sick pay and pensions and forced to work excessive hours. The cases mainly involve workers who were taken on as "consultants" rather than employees so that the company could avoid paying pension, sickness and other costs. The company is a subsidiary of a major private sector health and social care provider, Aleris, and Fagforbundet says this is one of the worst cases of social dumping in the welfare sector it has seen and also wants action by regional government which is responsible for health and social care provision.
Jul. 20, 2018 The Fagforbundet public services union has criticised private childcare companies for making excessive profits at the expense of the children and childcare workers. Private operators tend to employ fewer workers than municipal childcare providers, with employees often on lower pay rates and with poorer pension entitlement. The union welcomes the fact that a new law in effect on 1 August will require one childcare worker per three children aged 0-3 and one for every six children aged 3-5. Fagforbundet's priorities are now to get changes to the financing system for private childcare, win better pay and conditions for all childcare workers and increase the number of jobs.
Jun. 01, 2018 State sector trade unions called off planned strike action following an improved pay offer from the government. The main increase on annual salaries will be a flat-rate rise of NOK 5100 (EUR 535) while workers on higher pay rates will get a 1.25% increase. There will also be 1.9% of the paybill allocated to local negotiations. Abolition of the two lowest pay grades will help lower paid workers while there are also improvements to payments for unsocial hours and a higher threshold for pensionable pay.
May. 18, 2018 Health workers employed by hospitals covered by the Spekter employers' organisation will see pay increases of between 3.5% and 5%. The lower pay grades will get a NOK 16000 (EUR 1670) increase and this will take the minimum wage on the pay scale to NOK 314000 (EUR 32740). Other workers will generally get a 3.5% increase although there are higher increases for certain senior and management positions. The unions negotiating the deal say this agreement reflects the general pay trends across the economy.
May. 03, 2018 Trade unions in the municipal sector are pleased with the new collective agreement which they say recognises workers' competences, will encourage training and education as well as recruitment to the sector. The unions believe that the pay increases reflect skills at all levels whether based on formal qualifications or experience and will contribute to closing the gender pay gap. All workers will get an increase of NOK 5000 (EUR 515) a year and there are also increases to allowances for night and weekend work.