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Salary increase averts hotel staff strikes in Norway

There will not be any strikes from hotel staff in Norway, after an agreement was reached on Sunday to increase salaries and improve conditions for employees in hotels, restaurants and catering.

A bar worker
Illustration photo of a bar worker. Photo: Tangerine Chan, Unsplash

After hours of negotiation, an agreement was made between the United Federation of Trade Unions (Fellesforbundet) and the Norwegian Hospitality Association (NHO Reiseliv) on salaries and conditions for employees in hotels, restaurants and catering. 

A total of 1,250 hotel, restaurant and catering employees would have gone on strike from Sunday if the parties had not reached an agreement. 

The minimum wage in the industry was 175.47 kr per hour if you are over 20 years old, according to the Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority. (arbeidstilsynet). This has now increased to an extra 4.47 kr to 9.51 kr per hour, depending on how long you have worked in the industry and whether you work shifts.

For employees who have from 4 years experience and work 35.5 hours a week, this means a wage supplement of 9.51kr per hour, Fellesforbundet writes.

“Real wage growth for our members was absolutely crucial. Food, electricity and interest are becoming more expensive, and wages must keep pace,” chief negotiator Clas Delp said.

Changes have also been agreed on gender equality, workwear, staff training, and working conditions.

“Both hotels and restaurants must be serious and good workplaces, where people stay. We are now raising the level in the industry for everyone, as well as securing greater incentives for those who have worked longer”,  Delp said.

“People should be rewarded for staying in the job. It is the experienced in the industry who ensure competence and training for the many thousands recruited in the years to come,” Delp added.

Magne Kristensen, chief negotiator and director of working life policy at NHO Reiseliv, called it a “very demanding mediation”.

“It was an expensive settlement. Employers have gone to great lengths to find a solution and avoid strikes. We are nevertheless satisfied with avoiding conflict, as many tourism companies are still in a difficult financial situation after two years of pandemic”, he said.

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WORKING IN NORWAY

Record job vacancies in Norway: Which sectors need workers?

During the first quarter of 2022, there were a record number of job vacancies in Norway available, but which sectors are most in need of workers?

Record job vacancies in Norway: Which sectors need workers?

Norway passed 100,000 job vaccines during the first three months of the year, figures from Statistics Norway have revealed.

Compared to the same period a year before, the number of job openings increased by 7.3 percent when the figures are adjusted for seasonal variation.

“The number of vacancies was a record high throughout 2021. This quarter we see a further increase, and the number of vacancies is now over 100,000, the highest in over ten years,” Tonje Køber, from the labour market and wages section at Statistics Norway, said.

Unemployment fell to its lowest level since 2009 in the first quarter, also, figures from the Labour Force Survey show. During the first quarter of 2022, unemployment in Norway was 3.1 percent.

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Statistics Norway noted that construction was one of the industries with the highest number of vacancies, but the number of job openings was not yet back to pre-pandemic levels.

In the administration and support sectors, more than 11,200 vacancies were registered. Hospitality and accommodation was another sector with a high number of openings throughout the beginning of the year. Across these sectors, 7,000 vacancies were listed.

More than 6,000 openings were also reported for the comms and information sectors. The professional, scientific, and technical industries had just under 8,000 roles available during this period.

The technical and scientific professions were also the industries with the highest growth in the number of vacancies.

The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) has previously said Norway needs more skilled workers. 

“We now see a strengthened and persistent imbalance between the competence that employers demand and the competence that jobseekers offer,” director of labour and welfare at NAV, Hans Christian Holte, said in a report on unemployment published last month.

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