Unions in the health sector, including Fagforbundet, YS and unions represented by LO-Stat, are celebrating a positive ruling by the National Wages Board. The ruling means that pensions will now be based on all earnings which ensures that part-time workers will be entitled to pensions for the first time. The Board also endorsed the pay rise that ensures that all workers benefit from an increase already agreed for nursing staff. The unions' strike action had been brought to a halt in the summer when the government claimed it posed a threat to health and referred the matter to the National Wages Board.
Unions secure pensions and pay improvements for health workers
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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 SSM trade union federation has secured key changes to pension provision in draft legislation. The changes affect the number of years of contributions to get a pension, different retirement rules depending on the nature of work in different sectors, the possibility of early retirement from 60, the possibility for workers to make additional payments to improve their entitlement and extra years credited for workers in arduous occupations like construction.
At a meeting on 22 October the health workers' union confirmed its opposition to the government's pensions reforms and said it would fight to restore the right to early retirement for health workers. The reforms, including raising the pension age to 65, have met with widespread opposition across the trade union movement not just over the measures themselves but also the way the government introduced them with little or no consultation. The law takes effect from 1 January 2019 and the health workers' union is considering legal action to challenge the changes to early retirement rights.