Teachers in Norway likely to strike over wage negotiations

School teachers in Norway could be taken out on strike in two weeks as unions representing education professionals are unhappy with the proposed wage rises offered by the state. 

Pictured are children in a classroom.
Teachers in Norway will go in strike two weeks from now. Pictured is a teacher and a classroom. Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash

A major strike was averted on Tuesday when the municipal sector agreed on a wage rise of 3.84 percent, after mediation talks went into overtime. 

However, teachers could still be taken out on strike as education unions are unhappy with the state’s offer, with industrial action potentially beginning as early as two weeks from now. 

“The teachers have come out (of the settlement) poorly, we were the wage losers last year, KS (the employer organisation for the public sector) made sure of that. Now they are setting up a scheme that will ensure teachers will have poorer wage growth,” Stefan Handal, negotiator for Unio and leader of the Education Association (Utdanningsforbundet), told public broadcaster NRK

Handal added that strikes in the education sector would commence two weeks from now.

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Technically, potential strikes would have to be discussed by the central board at Unio. However, Newswire NTB reports that it has been informed that it is unlikely that a meeting of the central board would lead to strikes being averted. 

The National Association of Schools has also announced it would strike in 14 days. Lecturers are also unhappy with the state’s proposal, and the central board of the Norwegian Lecturers’ Association would meet to discuss the next steps. 

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Aircraft technician strike ordered to an end by the Norwegian government 

The aircraft technician strike in Norway, which grounded hundreds of flights, was forced to end by the Norwegian government on Tuesday.

Aircraft technician strike ordered to an end by the Norwegian government 

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has ended an air technician strike and ordered compulsory wage talks take place. 

Labour minister Marte Mjøs Persen said the strike was ordered to an end over public health concerns. 

“Unfortunately, I have had no other choice but to go to the compulsory wage board. The risk here applied especially to patients who become acutely and critically ill and need transport over longer distances, which can only be carried out by ambulance aircraft,”  

A lockout ordered by the employer organisation NHO to try and force an end to the strike threatened to ground air ambulances as union employees not on strike were also barred from working by the lockout. 

Air technicians had been striking over wages and were pushing for an hourly raise of around 60 kroner. This corresponded to a wage hike of approximately 18 percent for most members. Most industries accepted a more modest four percent rise throughout this year’s collective bargaining negotiations. 

Babcock, which operates Norway’s air ambulances, had applied to be exempt from the lockout but failed. 

The NFO told public broadcaster NRK it was disappointed with the government’s decsicion but that it would order workers back to their jobs. 

The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) welcomed the decision on the other hand. 

“We respect that the government considers the situation so serious that it has made this decision,” Torbjørn Lothe, CEO of NHO Luftfart, told NRK. 

Technicians had been on strike since June 18th, with the lockout coming into force six days later. 

Airline Widerøe, the airline hardest hit by the strike, warned that it might be a while before its services return to normal. 

“We are working on getting an overview of the situation. We have a lot of planes waiting for technical maintenance, either planned or due to errors. The goal is for us to get up and stand with normal production as soon as possible,” Silije Brandvoll, communications manager for the airline, told NRK. 

“It will take days, and probably weeks, before we can fly as normal again,” she added.