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Looming strike could paralyse Norway public services

Looming strike could paralyse Norway public services

OSLO: The police, the national tax administration, customs, the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Organization (NAV) and the nation’s universities and colleges are among the orgranizations that could be paralysed if a threatened public strike becomes reality.

The danger of a public sector strike was viewed as likely on Monday after three of four labour unions broke off negotiations with the state over the weekend.

“We are very far apart. This is about principles and experience shows that it is far more difficult to meet in the middle than when the conflict is merely about money,” Tone Rønoldtangen, the negotiations leader for public workers’ trade union LO Stat, told NTB.

The unions and the state will meet with state mediator Nils Dalseide on Wednesday morning. His goal is to help the two sides reach agreement by midnight on May 25th.

The union Akademikerne Stat was the only group of the Norway’s four union confederations to reach a deal with the state this year. LO Stat, Unio Stat and YS Stat all opted to break off negotiation talks.

Those three organizations represent a combined 100,000 public sector employees. This includes many NAV employees, large groups of police employees, tax administration workers, court employees, workers at universities and colleges, court employees, meteorologist, clergy members and railway employees.

The last time Norway was hit by a large public sector strike was in 2012 when the same three confederations went on strike to get pay raises that matched the rest of the labour market. That strike lasted two weeks, but sources told NTB that the current round of negotiations are likely to be even more difficult.