1998 marked by a significant number of strikes

Official figures indicate a relatively large number of industrial disputes in Norway during 1998. Some 286,000 working days were lost in 36 labour disputes, mainly in relation to renegotiations of national collective agreements.

Figures made public by Statistics Norway in May 1999 indicate that 286,000 working days were lost in labour disputes during 1998. A total of 36 disputes were registered in 1998, which involved approximately 27,000 employees. The figures for both working days lost and the number of disputes are relatively high in a Norwegian context (NO9801147N). However, the number of working days lost due to industrial action was higher in 1992 and in 1996. The figures cover only industrial disputes which lasted for more than one working day. Thus, the political strike against the government's proposal to cut one day of holiday entitlement was not taken into account in the statistics on the number of working days lost (NO9810192N).

As is traditional, the main disputes were those resulting from renegotiations of national sectoral collective agreements. Unofficial strikes are rare, and official disputes concerning the renewal of a collective agreement rarely involve a large number of employees.

The most serious disputes took place in scheduled bus transport and road haulage. The two competing transport unions in the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (Landsorganisasjonen i Norge, LO) and the Confederation of Vocational Unions (Yrkesorganisasjonenes Sentralforbund, YS) joined forces for the first time, and coordinated their negotiations and strike action. The parties managed to reach new agreements when negotiations resumed after a month-long strike (NO9806171N). Strike action also took place in both the state and municipal sectors among members of the Confederation of Norwegian Professional Associations (Akademikernes Hovedorganisasjon, AF)(NO9806173F). Similarly, several YS-affiliated unions resorted to strikes when their negotiations broke down in the municipal sector. LO members in the Telenor telecommunications company also went out on strike. A significant number of strikes in the public sector were halted by compulsory arbitration, including those at Telenor and others in the state sector. In the municipal sector the government made use of compulsory arbitration only against a number of selected groups, including health workers.

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