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YS chastises the Conservative Party for untimely political interference in the strike

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YS leader Hans-Erik Skjæggerud believes the Conservative Party is interfering in the strike Unio and the Academics have in the state settlement. Photo: Ole Berg-Rusten / NTB

Of NTB | 29.05.2024 06:23:08

Policy: – I am extremely surprised that the Conservatives and Liberals have signed up for an ongoing industrial action, says Skjæggerud to NTB.

– That the Right could think of doing that is a bit frightening, quite simply. Because it helps to politicize collective bargaining in Norway, and it is something the politicians have stayed far away from, and with good reason, he says.

The reaction comes after Høyre’s Anna Molberg stepped down on Monday NRK and criticized the Labor Party and the government for running LO’s errands in this year’s state settlement.

She calls the agreement to return to one collective agreement in the state a commission from LO which forces the union members in Unio and Akademikerne to accept an agreement administered by LO.

YS leader Skjæggerud calls the agreement that was negotiated, and which LO and YS have accepted, good and a good compromise. He points to the fact that in the municipal sector there is only one agreement with divisions that embrace different groups, but regardless of trade union membership. In private business, there is never more than a collective agreement for employees who have the same tasks, functions or responsibilities. The YS leader says that there are no good reasons for the state to have two sets of agreements.

Skjæggerud points out that YS has previously received support from the Conservatives when YS has criticized Labor-led governments for favoring LO, but that he now does not understand the party’s political interference in the strike as anything other than an attempt to pit groups against each other.

– I can hardly understand that they would want that, so I have to believe that their involvement in this must be based on a political short-circuit. I can’t believe anything else, says Skjæggerud to NTB.

At the time, this was tolerated by LO, Unio and YS, but after Unio announced a transition to the same collective agreement in 2022, LO and YS entered into negotiations this year with the idea that there should only be one collective agreement in the state. And they got success for that.

LO and YS accepted the agreement with the state on Friday. Hans Erik Skjæggerud denies to NTB that there is some form of collusion between LO and the Labor Party which is the basis for the agreement in favor of a joint collective agreement in the state.

– It is solely about doing the right thing. We in YS are not hostages to LO and Ap in this case, says Skjæggerud.

The union leader with 210,000 members behind him says it seems as if the Conservative Party is trying to score some political points by pitting people against each other. On the other hand, he calls it “100 per cent abnormal” to have two different collective agreements that apply to the same group of employees.

– This can mean that two employees with the same competence and who perform the same tasks in the same positions can end up with quite different agreements. It doesn’t work and is completely unnatural in Norwegian working life, says Skjæggerud.

On Tuesday, Molberg repeated the claim in Free Trade Union Movement and promised that a new Conservative government would return to two agreements in the state.

The background for the strike is that the Academics have long believed that those with longer education lost out on being part of a joint collective agreement in the state settlement. In 2016, under the Conservative-led Solberg government, they got the go-ahead to conclude a separate collective agreement with local wage negotiations instead of a central agreement.

– I am reacting to Høyre’s plan this time. It is untimely political interference, he says of Molberg’s move.

(© NTB)

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