After three weeks of selective strike action in hospitals involving several public service unions, the government has used its powers to force an end to the action and refer the matter to a national labour tribunal which will meet in October. The strike was over pensions and ensuring that all hospital workers have a right to a pension from the first Krone earned. The government claimed a threat to health when the unions decided to step up the action. It has intervened in this way in the past, most recently in November 2018 in a dispute involving the NSF nurses' union (see [email protected] 22, 2018).
Government intervenes to end hospital strike
More like this
On 3 September, employees in the opera, theatre and orchestras sector went on strike to demand a pension scheme that works equally for women and men and lasts a lifetime. On September 8, the strike escalated further and then more workers joined the strike after an unsuccessful mediation on 30 September. Another escalation occurred on 18 October before the dispute was finally resolved on 25 October. A new hybrid pension scheme will now be introduced ensuring equal treatment of men and women. In the employers’ original offer women would have lost out by as much as NOK 1000 (€100) a month and NOK
The GMB energy and general union declared an end to the long and bitter dispute with British Gas over its aggressive policy of firing and rehiring workers. GMB members voted three to one to accept a new deal. Around 7,000 British Gas engineers staged 44 days of strike action after the company threatened to sack them if they didn’t sign up to detrimental changes to their terms and conditions. The new deal offers improvements to overtime rates and unsocial hours payments, places limits on the amount of unsocial working undertaken, reverses the decision to close the defined benefit pension scheme
Trade unions have reacted angrily to the decision by the government to curtail debate over pension reforms by using a constitutional mechanism to pass legislation by ordonnance rather than the normal parliamentary process. Some unions organised demonstrations across the country at short notice to underline their continuing opposition to the reforms. Others were concerned about the method used to close down debate when there are still major issues still to be resolved, particularly in relation to pension for workers in arduous occupations.