Transport sector strike ends

The strike in the Norwegian transport sector came to an end on 10 June 1998, with the parties agreeing on new collective agreements. It is regarded as a good settlement by the trade unions involved.

The strike in the transport sector (NO9805166N) came to an end on 10 June 1998, with the parties agreeing on new collective agreements. The negotiations between the bargaining parties had broken down just after midnight on 13 May, and approximately 10,000 workers had been called out on strike by the time mediation resumed on 9 June. The strike involved workers in scheduled bus transport, long-distance freight transport by road and bus drivers working for Norwegian railways (NSB).

A precedent was set in Norwegian railways on 27 May, with a settlement in which employees received pay increases varying from NOK 5.75 to NOK 13.57 per hour. Subsequently, in scheduled bus transport, employees received an increase in pay of NOK 9 per hour, which applies to workers both within and outside the municipality of Oslo. Approximately 10% of employees will receive an additional "skilled worker" bonus of NOK 1 per hour, which brings their overall pay increase to NOK 10 per hour. Local freight transport workers gained an additional NOK 1.50 per hour, so the overall hourly pay increase for this group will be NOK 10.50. Although long-distance freight transport drivers failed to achieve agreement over a change in the present "dual-wage" system to a permanently fixed-wage system, their basic rate of pay was increased and the proportion of their total pay accounted for by piecework was correspondingly reduced.

The settlements imply an annual pay increase of NOK 17,500 for bus drivers, and NOK 19,500 per year for skilled workers. Workers in domestic long-distance freight transport will receive an annual increase of NOK 24,000, while international long-distance freight hauliers will receive NOK 27,000 more per year.

The settlement was welcomed by the trade unions involved. The leader of the Norwegian Transport Workers' Union (Norsk Transportarbeiderforbund, NTF), Per Østvold, argued that the reason for success in the pay negotiations was the new-found cooperation between the NTF and the Norwegian Bus Drivers' Union (Norsk Rutebilarbeiderforbund, NRAF). He also suggested a possible merger between the two unions.

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