LO executive committee proposes new action programme

The executive committee of the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions has presented a proposal for a new action programme, encompassing a wide variety of social and economic issues, which is due to be adopted at its congress in May 1997.

The executive committee (sekretariatet) of the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (Landsorganisasjonen i Norge, or LO), the largest union confederation in Norway, has recommended a programme of action containing a set of policy principles for the period 1997-2001. The programme encompasses a wide variety of social and economic issues and is to be adopted at the confederation's congress on 10-16 May 1997 after a plenary debate.

The action programme signals a continuation of the so-called Solidarity Alternative (Solidaritetsalternativet); a social pact between the Government and the social partners which is meant to ensure moderate wage growth and an increase in employment. LO is stressing that a continuation of the Solidarity Alternative must in particular have a further reduction of unemployment as its aim. Increased efforts directed towards education and training must be one of the means to ease the return to work of groups that now are marginalised. Further to this, LO believes that the trade union movement should emphasise social reforms instead of wage growth alone in the forthcoming wage settlements.

LO would like to see a further reduction of the age limit within the existing flexible retirement scheme, allowing all employees to retire from the age of 60 years if they so wish. Other proposed reforms are an extension of annual leave and a reduction of daily working hours. The new action programme does not prioritise between different ways of reducing working time. It is in favour of more flexible working time practices which should be more tailored to employees' needs during different phases of their lives. LO emphasises that these practices must be based on collective agreements, agreed either locally or centrally.

LO wants to secure and develop welfare policies. According to the action programme, LO will work against the privatisation of the health and community care services, as well as education. This latter point is expected to be a contentious issue at the forthcoming congress. Commentators expect that certain delegates will press for a "no to privatisation" to apply to a wider range of public services.

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