According to NRK, a statewide strike by Norwegian teachers over salary and wage growth is a real possibility as the new school year begins. “We have made a plan. I cannot reveal where, when and how many people will be affected by a strike. But it is only natural to imagine that an escalation will take place in connection with the start of school,” Steffen Handal, head of the Norwegian Education Association, told NRK.
Forty teachers in Bergen are now on strike over salary issues. According to Handal, public school educators have taken a pay cut in five of the last six collective bargaining agreements.
The public sector as a whole approved the contract despite vocal opposition from the National Association of Schools, the Norwegian Association of Lecturers, and the Norwegian Education Association in May. Organization responsible for negotiating public sector collective bargaining agreements (KS) has issued a warning that there is little space for compromise. Tor Arne Gangs, KS’s director of labor, told NRK, “The money has been used up.”
Work life expert Kristine Nergaard cautioned that the walkout might go for a long time if tensions continue to rise. “I think that it will last for at least two to three weeks from the time of escalation. Maybe more. It will also be difficult to manage this strike against the compulsory wage board,” Nergaard told union news site Utdanningsnytt.no.
The study’s author also noted that unions may adopt a similar tack to the 7,000 teachers who went on strike before the 2014 school year.