Joint declaration on creation of new union for education staff

In March 1999, the two largest trade unions in Norway's education sector issued a joint statement on their plans to create a new organisation, which would have some 120,000 members. The process should take two years, and the aim is to have the new organisation ready for pay negotiations in 2002.

The two largest trade unions in the Norwegian education sector, the Norwegian Union of Teachers (Norsk Lærerlag, NL) and Teachers' Union Norway (Lærerforbundet), which represents both teaching and administrative personnel, issued a joint statement on 19 March 1999 outlining their plans for the creation of a new organisation. The new organisation, if and when established, will have around 120,000 members and cover most teachers from nursery schools up to university and advanced college level. Both NL and Teachers' Union Norway have previously approved proposals to to set up the new organisation at national conferences (NO9811196F).

At the heart of the joint declaration is a recognition that the two organisations have shared interests in many areas, and that a pooling of resources and effort will make them more influential. The most important elements are not only the wish to see teachers' pay greatly increased, but also to work to improve the status and influence of teachers. Another important ambition is to strengthen teachers' influence on national educational policy.

The process of establishing a new organisation is estimated to take two years, and a final decision will not be made until the autumn of 2001. The members of the two organisations will be consulted regularly, two hearings will be held, and the results of these hearings will be decisive for the progress made in the process. Other trade unions in the educational sector will also be invited to join.

Teachers' Union Norway is affiliated to the Federation of Norwegian Professional Associations (Akademikernes Fellesorganisasjon, AF). NL is independent, but is involved in cooperation agreements with the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (Landsorganisajsonen i Norge, LO). As such it often coordinates its pay negotiations with the LO unions in the public sector. The question of confederal affiliation of the new organisation has not been settled, and the final outcome may be independence from the main Norwegian confederations. The aim is to have the organisation ready and fully functional for the pay negotiations in 2002.

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