NORWAY – Large strike movement of the public sector

On May 27, more than 7,000 public sector employees went on strike. As of June 2, 22,500 were already on strike in kindergartens, schools, health care facilities and other public enterprises. The state intervened under flimsy arguments to end the strike.



Reasons for the strike action: among other things, 3 out of 4 municipalities have problems getting enough nurses, and nationally there is a shortage of 7,000 nurses. The number of applicants for teacher training is decreasing year by year. Salary is one of the reasons. In last year's collective bargaining agreement, the Union (Unio) agreed to a record low pay increase, with a promise of growth this year.


The attacks on these sectors have now led to the first strike in 20 years - a strike to raise wages for teachers and nurses. Strikers say they are getting almost positive feedback from people on the streets, and a poll shows the strike has the support of 74% of the population. The government, on the other hand, stopped the strike after only a short time.


In Norway, there is a controversial arrangement with a "Wage Board" where the state can intervene in negotiations and force the parties to reach an agreement. They legitimize a forced wage board with crises and social benefits. This time, a fire hazard related to a waste incinerator in eastern Norway was used as a reason to end the strike. This caused a lot of anger and in many ways it is a betrayal of their own members for the UNIO leadership to de facto accept this. A trade union movement with a backbone would have initiated fighting measures against such an attack on basic democratic rights. It's not over yet either - in Oslo the strike continues and the strikers say they are striking for the workers of the whole country.


A commentary in "Tjen folket" draws out three tendencies on the basis of the current events surrounding the strike movement: first, that the will to struggle is growing among the population worldwide, against the deterioration of the living conditions of the masses, against crises and cuts. Second, that the reactionarization of the old states is increasing as they move toward corporatism and militarization, which undermines bourgeois liberal democracy. Third, that international trends are also clearly expressed in Norway, and that the revolutionary situation, which is developing unevenly worldwide, is also reflected in developments in Norway.


[Source: https://tjen-folket.no/index.php/2021/06/03/opptrapping-av-streiken/, https://tjen-folket.no/index.php/2021/06/06/kommentar-til-at-staten-stanset-unio-streiken/]

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