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Norway – Adecco in court over alleged contract breach

24 September 2013

Adecco Helse (Health) Norway has been taken to court by the Norwegian municipality of Klæbu in Sør-Trøndelag, over NOK 33 million (€4.1 million) that it claims the recruitment company owes them.

In 2009, the municipality put out to tender a contract for the running of a nursing home in Klæbu. On 1 June 2010, Adecco Helse took over the running of the care home and its 53 beds. The contract lasted exactly 10 months and 11 days.

In February 2011, a news report by network NRK revealed extensive violations of the Working Environment Act at the Adecco-run Ammerudlunden nursing home in Oslo. Adecco admitted that it allowed nurses to work double shifts at the nursing home, and without overtime pay. Following the revelations in 2011, the leader of the Norwegian Nurses Association, Lisbeth Normann reacted strongly to the report, saying that the revelations were shocking, and that it was a violation of Norwegian law and a threat to patient safety.  

As a direct result of the news report on the Ammerudlunden nursing home, the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority visited the Klæbu nursing home. As a result, the Klæbu municipality cancelled their contract with Adecco Helse.

The municipality is claiming that the cost of taking over the running of the nursing home, following the breach of contract, cost the community NOK 33 million. The municipality, two miles south of Trondheim, consists of 6,000 residents and has an annual budget for 2013 of NOK 219 million.

In his opening statement, John Egil Bergem, lawyer for Klæbu municipality, said that the money is of great importance to the people and constitutes a tenth of their total annual budget.

Adecco, however, believes that there is no basis for the claim. Other nursing home contracts that were cancelled following the revelations have been settled with the local authorities. Despite lengthy negotiations, Adecco and Klæbu have been unable to reach a consensus.

The court case is on-going and Adecco has yet to present their opening statement.        

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