Strikes For Members

How Norway’s public sector strike will affect you

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
How Norway’s public sector strike will affect you
Some 3,500 workers in Norway will be taken out from Friday. Pictured is Norway's parliament. Photo by Leonid Andronov Getty Images

The police, public universities, passport offices and government ministries will be affected by a strike after talks between unions and the state broke down on Friday.


Government workers represented by the Federation of Norwegian Professional Associations (Akademikerne) and the Confederation of Unions for Professionals (Unio) have gone on strike after mediation talks failed to reach a collective bargaining agreement. 

“It has been an incredibly demanding process. It has been the toughest mediation I have been involved in, and I must say I think it has been the toughest negotiations we have ever been involved in, too,” Kari Tønnesen Nordli, who led negotiations for state sector workers in the Federation of Norwegian Professional Associations, said. 

Around 1,260 union employees began industrial action on Friday, and around 3,500 will strike from Monday. 

What’s the background for the strike? 

Norway’s public sector negotiates wages and working conditions, otherwise known as collective bargaining agreements, after the private sector. 

READ MORE: What is a Norwegian collective bargaining agreement?

This year concerns a “main settlement,” which means everything from wages to working hours is up for discussion. 

Unions in Norway have promised members a real-term wage increase (meaning salary increases outpace inflation) this year. 

Four unions have been locked in negotiations with the state. The branch of the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) that represents state employees and the Confederation of Vocational Unions (YS) managed to agree on a deal with the state, while the unions that have announced strike action didn’t. 


In addition to Nordli saying it was the toughest set of wage talks she had been involved with, state mediator Mats Ruland called the talks the most challenging he has led. 

A disagreement on how the collective bargaining agreement would be structured was reported by broadcaster TV 2 as one of the key reasons for the breakdown. 

Meanwhile, the Confederation of Unions for Professionals said that the deal offered by the state would be bad for the education sector. 

What will be affected by the strike? 

The strike will affect the police, public universities, government ministries, passport offices and agencies such as the Norwegian Water and Resources (NVE) and Energy Directorate.

Employees from Kripos, Norway’s serious crime unit, have said that the strike would affect their operational capacity. 


“This withdrawal is so large that it will have operational consequences from day one,” Monika Skauli, HR manager at Kripos, told public broadcaster NRK. 

Frode Aarum from the Norwegian Police Directorate told NRK that the strike also means case workers who deal with passports have gone on strike, as have many prosecutors at the Oslo Police District. 

He added that investigations would likely be affected by the strikes. 

Exams at public universities could also be affected by the walkouts. Margareth Hagen at the University of Bergen told the regional newspaper Bergenavisen that exams and exam grading would be affected. 

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) would be most affected by the strike’s first wave. 

Avalanche warnings will also be affected by the strike, the NVE told NRK. However, flood and landslide warnings would continue as normal. 

Meanwhile, employees at the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ministry of Transport have gone on strike. 

This will affect the government’s legislative work and make it difficult for the government to make new proposals.



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