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Over 24,000 workers in Norway begin strike over wages

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Over 24,000 workers in Norway begin strike over wages
Some 24,000 workers in Norway have gone on strike. Pictured is the outside of Central Oslo Station. Photo by Svein Sund on Unsplash

A strike involving 24,000 Norwegian workers began on Monday morning after wage talks between employers and two major union groups broke down Sunday.

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A strike involving 24,000 Norwegian workers began Monday morning after wage talks between employers and two major union groups broke down Sunday.

The strike action affects several industries, from construction, transport, manufacturing and hotels in the capital Oslo.

Mediation talks between the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) and the Confederation of Vocational Unions (YS) -- and the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) had been ongoing since Friday after initial talks over this year's settlement broke down before Easter.

On Sunday, LO and YS rejected a draft agreement drawn up by the national mediator.

"We didn't think that which was offered by NHO and finally was in the draft by the national mediator was good enough for us to accept it," LO leader Peggy Hessen Folsvik told reporters.

The strike marks the first time in two decades that LO has opted for industrial action.

"It is, of course, regrettable to have to go on strike. However, we do not do it lightly," Folsvik said.

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Throughout negations, LO had maintained that it wished to secure a real wage increase for its workers. Estimates from the government forecast inflation in Norway to be 4.9 percent in 2023, meaning that LO was seeking a wage bump in the region of five percent for its members.

"Norway should not have had to deal with this strike. NHO has been solution-orientated and negotiated constructively, but the other side did not meet us halfway," NHO chief Ole Erik Almlid said in a statement.

The NHO had accepted the mediators' proposal on wages.

Some 22,947 members from LO would strike, while YS said 1,441 of its members would do so. Both union groups warned that the strike would escalate from Friday if a deal isn't secured.

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