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
Outsourcing, Procurement, Norway
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.
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
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
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
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
The Fagforbundet public services trade union has called on municipalities to end any contracts with the Orange nursing staff agency. Local authorities in Oslo and Bergen have already terminated contracts with the company following evidence of its infringement of various regulations including health and safety law. The company also failed to maintain services to users and to comply with demands from the authorities to meet the terms of its contract. Fagforbundet says the company is also guilty of paying wages well below the sector agreement while press reports have revealed the company's tax