Norwegian professionals forced to accept pay adjustments

08.06.2006
Norway‘s government has stopped the strike initiated by The Federation of Norwegian Professional Associations and forced them to accept pay adjustments. According to the Government, the strike became a threat to life and health. "The strike was no threat to life or health. This shows that we need a new way to negociate state salaries," says Knut Aarbakke of the Federation.
The Federation of Norwegian Professional Associations reacts strongly to the Government‘s life and health allegations and points out that only 600 out of 19.000 members have been on strike: "If this modest number of employees on strike is threatening life and health, the whole Norwegian population should leave the country in July when thousands of our members go on holiday", Aarbakke says.

The Government points to the striking veterinarians as a threat: "The important factor for us was the reports from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority stating that the conditions in many poultry farms are now critical. The lack of removal of waste will represent a risk to the animals‘ health and can also be a threat to human health. I think that the strike has lead to unacceptable consequences for society. After an assessment of the consequences, keeping in mind the fact that the negotiating parties are stuck, the Government has decided to suggest that the conflict be solved by government regulated pay adjustments," says Norway‘s Minister of Labour and Social Inclusion, Bjarne Håkon Hanssen.

The Federation of Norwegian Professional Associations says the situation shows the need for a new way of negotiating state salaries, and thinks the Government is represented at all ends of the table: "Here the Government first negociates, then mediates and finally stops the strike. It is totally unacceptable to have them sitting at all ends of the table," Knut Aarbakke says.

The professionals that were on strike have gone back to work.

The strike was initiated 24th May as a reaction to the major differences in pay between professionals employed by the State and those working for private companies. The federation organises work groups like architects, medical doctors, dentists, veterinarians, lawyers, psychologists, social and natural scientists, economists and engineers.
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