Tens of thousands of workers in Norway began a strike on Monday, after negotiations between the country’s two main unions and employers’ representatives broke down late last night.
Transport, hotel and construction sectors in the Nordic nation are all impacted by the strikes, with more than 22,000 workers from the main trade union confederation LO taking part, alongside around 1,500 from a smaller union.
“It is regrettable that we have to go on strike. We are not doing it lightly,” said LO leader Peggy Hessen, after the weekend’s unsuccessful mediation.
“LO demanded increased purchasing power for all its members and a boost for the low-paid,” she said in a statement. “[The employers’ representative] has chosen to reject our demands, and thus sends the country into strike.”
Unions say that for the last two years workers have had to cope with rising living costs, which have outstripped salary increases.
LO says that, while ordinary workers have not been getting the pay rises they need, there has been an “explosion in executive pay and bonus schemes.”
If no solution is found during this week, then another 16,000 LO members will join the strike next Friday.
Unions are demanding a 5% increase in purchasing power.
A wave of industrial action has swept through Europe in recent months. Teachers, railway and health workers have struck over pay and conditions in the UK, while France has been gripped by a general strike over controversial pension reforms.