Mass industrial action involving an estimated 25,000 workers has commenced in Norway today (17 April) as unions representing employees across the private-sector strike over wages.
Carlsberg said about half of its workers in Norway are engaged in the action. “This means that we cannot maintain our operations. All production and distribution of our products has therefore been shut down and will remain so for as long as the strike lasts,” a spokesperson said.
Denmark-based drinks group Royal Unibrew said 123 workers at its production sites in Hansa Bryggeri and Borg Bryggerier are involved in the union-led wage dispute.
“As a consequence of the strike, we have been compelled to cease the production with effect from this morning,” a Royal Unibrew spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, approximately 110 Coca-Cola Europacific Partners workers are also taking part in the strike, union officials have confirmed.
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All employers are represented by The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO), while the strike is being led by several unions, predominantly, The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) and Confederation of Vocational Unions (YS).
Today’s one-day strike action is estimated to involve roughly 25,000 workers in Norway, encapsulating private-sector workers from the construction, food and drink, manufacturers and technology industries. Further action and an escalation of numbers – by an additional 16,000 employees – is planned for 21 April.
Norwegian trade unions are seeking a rise in wages to increase the purchasing power of its members hit by inflation. They are arguing that any offer not above or in line with Norwegian headline inflation of 4.9% is not a wage increase.
Rejecting the NHO’s recent pay proposal, LO said: “The proposal that was put on the table would not have improved purchasing power for large groups of LO’s members. That’s why we said no. The low-wage groups would come off badly, and we could not agree to that.”
The unions have warned the strike could escalate to the point where it involves approximately 200,000 workers.