Half of all employers ignore labour law: survey

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Half of all employers ignore labour law: survey

Half of Norwegian employers are breaking legally binding rules agreed over time with trade unions when it comes to temporary unemployment, although some in an autumn survey said they “didn’t know the law”.


“One would think that employers would know the rules in this area, since they’re so preoccupied trying to change them,” said Hans-Erik Skjæggerud, manager of labour organization Parat which conducted the survey.

According to Norwegian law, shop stewards are to be notified of a company’s need for temps and interns, yet just over half say they don’t bother telling the union reps. Unlike much of the western world, where union-busting is an old practice and confrontation is the norm, Norwegian union’s have long enjoyed a legally prescribed presence in the company boardroom.

The survey of 1,200 employers, conducted in late October and early November 2011, showed private companies consult organized labour just 34 percent of the time. Among Norway’s explosive growth in government and taxpayer-owned entities, just 42 percent of union reps report being consulted on the need for extra personnel.

Skjæggerud said the development is a serious and worrying breach of Norway’s labour law.

“More temporary staff does not create jobs but insecurity,” he told The Local.

Newer Norwegian companies are coming under their first real scrutiny after dizzying growth through three decades of staggering oil wealth. The growth has witnessed a new elitism, with managers reportedly taking up to a year off with pay to study while lower ranks and temps are offered sleeping arrangement on site in order to cut travel time and enable multiple, successive shifts.

In some sectors, a trend referred to by unions as social dumping — employing foreign workers to compete locally with highly paid Norwegian workers — has brought long hours for some at far below the normal pay.

Last year, the 30,000-strong labour organization Parat launched a campaign to spotlight employers’ satellite monitoring of workers in the building industry. The practice — along with suggesting staff slept at work — was found to be a lawbreaker.


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