Strikes hit 60-year high
Figures from the Confederation of Norwegian Business and Industry show that over 530,000 working days were lost in industrial conflict during the 1996 wage negotiations in Norway. The major strikes all occurred in the private sector and among unions affiliated to the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions.
Figures from the Confederation of Norwegian Business and Industry ( Næringslivets Hovedorganisasjon or NHO) show that over 530,000 working days were lost in industrial conflict during the 1996 wage negotiations. These figures cover only private sector companies which are members of NHO, but nearly all industrial conflicts in 1996 took place within this area. This is the highest number of working days lost since 1986, when Norway experienced a major lockout in the private sector. In 1996, lawful strikes accounted for all the lost working days, and the number of working days lost in strikes alone (ie, excluding lock-outs) is thus the highest since the 1930s. The major strikes all came in the private sector and among unions affiliated to the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (Landsorganisasjonen i Norge, or LO). The Government did not, as often before, intervene to stop strikes with compulsory arbitration. Three strikes accounted for the majority of lost working days. These came in the metal industry, the hotel and restaurant industry and in the electrical installation industry.
In the metal industry, the parties recommended a mediator's proposal which was later rejected by union members in a ballot. This negative vote meant that the metalworkers went on strike for the first time since the 1930s. The strike lasted for eight days and involved 30,000 workers. In the hotel and restaurants industry, mediation broke down, resulting in the first strike in nearly 60 years. When negotiations reopened after two weeks of conflict, the parties were able to conclude a new agreement. The revision of the collective agreement for the electrical installation industry in the private sector in 1996 also resulted in a strike, lasting eight weeks. In this dispute, the LO-affiliated union and the NHO sectoral association were in disagreement about employees' rights to further training. The outcome was an agreement which gave the employees the right to be offered some kind of training within a specific time limit (two to three years), while employers were assured control over the substance of the training.
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