Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Norwegian teachers reject negotiated deal and prepare to strike

News is breaking that Norwegian teachers have voted by a large majority, and with a high turnout, to reject the proposed deal on pay and conditions that had been proposed at the end of negotiations between their union and their employers.

The results of the ballot were:
73% NO to the deal
27% YES to the deal
Turnout 67%

More details to follow - but be ready to support our colleagues in Norway taking action to defend education and to oppose the kind of attacks that teachers are facing internationally.

(See previous International posts for the background to this dispute)

UPDATE: This article in English gives more information on the dispute:

“They have said a resounding ‘no’ to the deal put forward by the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS),” union leader Ragnhild Lied said at today’s NRK-televised press conference. Talks between the union and the employers’ organisation had been successful. They had recommended their members accept the new working agreement.27 per cent of the more than two-thirds who voted did.

Included in this was the teacher losing current flexibility to carry out pre and post-lesson work at home, instead of at school. It means they would have to be there for 7.5 hours a day, like many employment agreements at businesses in Norway. A 3.3 per cent pay rise was also part of the agreement. The number of hours teachers put in regarding their work – which includes preparation and meetings – is considered to be higher than those of staff such as office workers' in the course of a school year. Teachers get the same amount of paid annual leave, with additional days/weeks being time in lieu or due to public holidays.

Ms Lied admitted they knew certain parts of the new deal would be contentious, but had underestimated “the mistrust KS has created amongst teachers – one that has built up over time.” “We’ve taken self-criticism on board, and are now ready to lead a strike,” she said, smiling. According to her, a walkout will now be staged at one school in Bergen, with minor strike action occurring during the summer holidays. Parents and pupils will only start to notice the consequences of teachers’ vote at the beginning of the school year. “We’ll be strongly escalating strike action at this time”, Ms Lied informed reporters, “and this can be widespread and long-lasting.” 

Teachers in Oslo municipality have their own agreement and will not be staging industrial action. The Union of Education represents some 93,000 educational staff.

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