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Minister slams Norway unions' migration fears

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Minister slams Norway unions' migration fears
Energy Minister Ola Borten Moe (L) with the prime minister (C). File photo: Stian Lysberg Solum/Scanpix
09:40 CEST+02:00
Norway's Energy Minister has called the trade union confederation's suspicion of labour migration a "senseless use of time and energy," and discarded claims the influx of employees would lead to wage dumping.
Centre Party MP and Energy Minister Ola Borten Moe said Norway needed labour migration.
"We need to stop questioning what is of huge benefit for Norway," Borten Moe told the Dagens Næringsliv business daily on Tuesday. 
He added the monikers "unfounded, weird and theoretical" to his analysis of the Norwegian Trade Union Confederation's (LO) continued skepticism towards opening the borders.
In 2012, employment statistics showed that almost 38,000 foreigners were employed, of which about 27,000 have chosen to stay in Norway longer-term. The remaining jobs were doled out to foreign nationals for short-term contracts, reported the NTB news agency.
The trade unions, meanwhile, have expressed concern that an influx of foreign workers could undercut the job market for certain groups in Norway. 
"A  large supply of foreign labor may make it difficult for vulnerable groups to gain entry to the labour market. It could be established immigrants, people with health problems or adolescents," LO economist Life Sannes told Dagens Næringsliv last week. 
"I disagree with how LO chooses to describe it as a problem," Borten Moe countered.
"We need labor migration to solve the problems in the country, and migration makes it possible to take our prosperous society to new heights."
Neither did he think that concerns about wage dumping were founded. 
"We have one of the most thoroughly regulated labor markets in the world, and there is broad agreement about Norwegian wages and working conditions." 
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