Norway in for Mass Wage Strike Amid Near-Record Inflation

General overview of Oslo downtown, Norway, on November 17, 2020.InternationalIndiaAfricaWhile the trade unions in Europe’s largest energy exporter specifically pledged to spare ongoing oil and gas production, suppliers to the country’s massive oil industry will be affected by the strike involving tens of thousands of workers.Workers representing numerous Norwegian industries will go on strike on April 17 after failing to reach a wage deal with employers to make up for the unrelenting inflation.Up to 25,000 union members will walk out this Monday as last-ditch talks led by a government-appointed mediator failed to produce an agreement on the salaries of about 185,000 workers, the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) said in a statement.The strike will affect suppliers to the country’s key oil industry, with companies like Aker Solutions ASA joining the protest. By contrast, oil and gas production in western Europe’s biggest exporter of fossil fuels would be spared, as promised earlier by LO. However, construction and road maintenance, electricity, car sales, as well as confectioneries and breweries will also be affected.The trade unions demanded a wage increase of at least 5.0 percent for the earnings to be on par with consumer prices in 2023.”It is a very deadlocked and serious situation,” government mediator Mats Ruland said in a statement as attepmpts to reach the agreement between the workers trade unions and the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) floundered.”LO demanded increased purchasing power for all our members and a boost for the low-paid. NHO has chosen to reject our demands and thus sent the country into strike,” LO chairwoman Peggy Hessen Folsvik told Norwegian media.From the opposite side of the table, the statement was that employers have gone to “great lengths” to meet the wage earners’ wishes for higher wages. NHO also added that such a conflict marked a first time in Norway’s history.To emphasize the gravity of the situation, LO announced that it is prepared to add an extra 15,000 members to the strike.

The action comes as Norway is at pains to stifle inflation that hovers near a three decade-high at 6.5 percent, with unemployment close to multi-year lows. The Nordic nation's inflation unexpectedly accelerated last month, which, coupled with the weak krone, the worst performer in the G10 group of major currencies this year, is seen as almost a guarantee of the central bank'splan to raise interest rates.

While Norwegian Central Bank Governor Ida Wolden Bache stressed last month she failed to see any signs for a price-wage spiral for now, the bank nevertheless raised its forecast for 2023 nominal wage growth to 5.1 percent, which would be the fastest pace in 15 years.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *