Norway: General application of collective agreements in the transport sector

General application of collective agreements in the Norwegian transport sector were put in force in 2015 to help regulate pay and employment conditions for foreign drivers.

Regulations on the general application of collective agreements concerning freight transport by road were adopted by the Norwegian Committee on labour tariffs on 11 May and have been in force since 1 July. The purpose of these regulations is to ensure pay and employment conditions for foreign drivers is equivalent to those that apply to the majority of their Norwegian counterparts. Similar regulations concerning passenger transport by tour bus have been in force since 1 October. 

After receiving a number of enquiries regarding interpretation of the scope of the regulations, the Tariff  Board amended the regulations on freight transport on 12 October, specifying that the regulations apply to foreign workers who carry out transport in Norway by means of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of over 3.5 tonnes. It further specified that the regulations shall – in addition – apply to cabotage (transport between two places loading and/or unloading in Norway by a transport operator from another country) and combined transport, but not to other international transport. A guide to the interpretation of the regulations (in English) has been published by the Labour Inspection Authority.

All employees of an enterprise that falls within the scope of the regulations are entitled to the pay and employment conditions specified in the collective agreement that has been given general application. If the application is successful, these regulations could have a major impact on the transport sector as it is not uncommon for foreign drivers working in Norway to have wages and employment conditions that fall far short of the provisions in the collective agreements. As outlined in a video by the Norwegian Truckers Union (NLF), the new regulations entitles freight transport drivers to a minimum hourly wage of 158.32 NOK (approximately €17), and 150 NOK (approximately €16) for passenger tour bus drivers.

The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority supervises compliance with the regulations, although ensuring compliance is inherently difficult due to the nature of the sector, namely high mobility, language barriers and foreign employers – the Labour Inspection Authority having limited resources allocated to the task. However there is a certain amount of optimism among Norwegian transport companies that these relatively new regulations will hold the buyer of a service (such as a tour operator or logistics company) responsible if a subcontractor fails to comply with the regulations, making companies more careful in their choice of business partners. 

Further information on the regulations is available from the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority (in English).

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