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The government will ensure collective wages in Svalbard

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Working life in Longyearbyen on Svalbard has changed in recent years. Unorganised, foreign workers in particular are grossly exploited, according to LO locally. Photo: Ole Berg-Rusten / NTB

Of NTB | 30.05.2024 17:53:16

Policy: In order to strengthen the rights of the employees, the government wants the Public Access Act to be made applicable to Svalbard as well, says a press release from the Ministry of Labor and Inclusion. The proposal is part of the government’s Svalbard report, which will be presented on Friday.

If a collective agreement is generalized, it means that the provisions of the agreement are turned into a regulation that applies to everyone, regardless of whether they have a collective agreement or not.

In Norway, there are nine collective agreements where the collective agreement is made public.

The bill will not come until the end of 2024, promises Minister Tonje Brenna (Ap). It was already out for consultation in 2020.

– Longyearbyen local government and LO Svalbard have been clear in showing why it is necessary to publicize Svalbard. They have pointed to challenges with pay and working conditions in industries with a lot of foreign labour, such as cleaning, construction, accommodation and catering, she says.

Leader Svein Jonny Albrigtsen for LO Svalbard has fought for this change in the law since 2015, according to NRK. The LO office in Longyearbyen constantly receives messages of concern about working and pay conditions. An example is people who work for board and lodging and a thousand Swedish kroner a week.

– This is important for the foreign workers, who are particularly exploited. Some people only get paid NOK 10 an hour, without it being possible to reduce that, he says.

(© NTB)

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