Jan. 21, 2020 Unions in Norway and Sweden have put the focus on green issues in their current and planned negotiations with church employers. In Norway there is a commitment to address sustainability issues with the Norwegian church in an agreement that also includes measures to ensure a working environment that promotes health and also initiatives to reduce sickness absence. Meanwhile, in Sweden upcoming negotiations will include green measures along with a focus on a clearer process of pay determination and increased control over working time to improve work-life balance.
Jan. 06, 2020 Seven care workers, supported by the Fagforbundet public services union, have won a significant court case that rules they were wrongly classified as self-employed and so were denied the rights of employees. The workers took the case against the Baos private care company and their claim covers the wide range of benefits and rights that they should have been entitled to under the Work Environment Act. These cover paid holidays, overtime pay, working time, sick pay, pensions and other issues. The ruling means the company will have to pay the seven workers around NOK 5.5m (EUR 560000) to compensate for the lost rights. The union sees this as an important ruling for the private care sector where the practice of categorising workers as "self-employed" has become widespread.
Nov. 07, 2019 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.
Sep. 13, 2019 Public service unions, including Fagborbundet and the nurses' union, are hopeful that 11 privatised care homes in Oslo will be back under municipal control in the next two years as their contracts come to an end. The red/green coalition on the city council has given positive signs but the unions are concerned it may use an option to extend contracts by one or two years. The unions argue that any delay will be costly to the workers. They give the example of a care home in Uranienburg which was privatised in 2013 and then remunicipalised but workers in the home had lost out with annual salaries for most workers NOK70-80000 (EUR 7-8000) less than in the public sector.
Aug. 21, 2019 Three unions - Fagforbundet, NSF and Delta - with a combined total membership of 560000, are joining forces to address the continuing problem of part-time work in health and social care. The unions say that around two-thirds of workers in the sector, employed mainly by municipalities - are on part-time contracts. This is a problem for many workers, making it difficult to make ends meet. The unions argue that the problem has been recognised at national level and some municipalities have taken action but they say the government needs to ensure that municipalities have the funding so that they can offer workers full-time contracts.
Jul. 25, 2019 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 epsucob@NEWS 22, 2018).
Jul. 11, 2019 The Fagforbundet public service union reports that over a third of the country's municipalities have adopted a variety of measures to reduce the risk of social dumping. These include requirements to employ permanent employees, for pay and working conditions that correspond to the sector agreement in the industry and specific numbers of skilled workers and trainees. They also cover tax matters and the prohibition of cash payments, limits on the number of subcontractors, regular monitoring of contracts and the right of local authorities to audit the contractor and sub-contractors.
May. 29, 2019 Just over 300 members of the Fagforbundet and FO health and welfare trade unions in three hospitals began strike action on 29 May in protest at unfair pension arrangements. The unions, among several coordinated by the LO confederation in its LO Stat group, are claiming full pension rights from day one and from the first Krone earnt in line with the arrangements in the municipal sector. At the moment employees working less than 20% of normal full-time hours are not able to build up pension rights. The unions point out that this is clearly gender discrimination as 75% of those affected are women. The unions estimate that the cost of providing pensions to this group of workers is only around 0.1% of the total hospital pay bill.
May. 02, 2019 Local government unions are generally pleased about the outcome of negotiations over pay which will see most workers benefit from pay increases of 3%-3.5%.Unions have been keen this year to ensure that competences and education are properly rewarded in a context where there is recruitment pressure for skilled workers. Basic pay will rise, for example, by NOK 14000 a year (EUR 1440) to NOK 41000 (EUR 42200) for workers with a three-year college education while those with one-year vocational training will see basic pay rise by NOK 13000 (EUR 1340) to NOK 372800 (EUR 38380). The unions say that pay developments are line with other sectors. Meanwhile unions in the state sector have ended negotiations as employers have refused to ensure that pension arrangements will be as good as those in local government. Mediation will take place later in the month.
Apr. 16, 2019 Trade unions preparing for pay negotiations in the local government sector are looking to secure a real pay increase for all workers. Their other key aims include higher increases for lower paid workers and action to reduce the gender pay gap with workers in sectors dominated by women particularly targeted. The unions argue that with unemployment down municipal workers should benefit from positive economic developments. They also want to see a proper recognition of skills and competences noting that there is a shortage of staff in some occupations and that in recent years some categories of skilled workers have not seen their pay develop in line with other groups, particularly managers.
Mar. 27, 2019 The Fagforbundet public services union is working to ensure that its members benefit from provisions in collective agreements - in this case in the municipal sector and covering childcare - that ensure that workers are paid the appropriate wage for their experience and qualifications. Workers can get up to six years of service-related pay if they have been away from work because of caring responsibilities. Migrant workers can also get qualifications and experience from other countries taken into account. The union gives the example of a childcare worker from Lithuania who saw a NOK 104000 (EUR 10700) increase in annual pay once her seven years of home caring responsibilities and six years of childcare work in Lithuania were taken into account. A cleaner got the same increase once the local authority checked that she had had to spend seven years caring for her husband and once they had corrected her service details.
Mar. 15, 2019 Negotiations are underway between the LO confederation and the NHO employers' organisation over pay with the LO unions looking for higher increases for workers who are on less than 90% of the average industrial wage. The negotiations cover mainly private sector companies but public service unions have membership in many of these including private nursing homes and child welfare institutions, asylum reception centres, ambulance services and veterinary care among others. LO unions are looking for substantial increases in the light of recent moderate pay rises and improved economic performance
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.