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Norway – Another round of strikes against the AWD shakes government

21 February 2012

The debate on whether the European Agency Work Directive (AWD) should be implemented in Norway continues as, this afternoon, trade unions once more gather around Parliament, demanding the government veto the directive.

Resistance against the AWD is growing and today’s strikes take on the motto of "No disgrace," implying that the potential introduction of the directive will bring shame to Norway’s society that prides itself with its independence from the rest of Europe.  

Wibeke Berheim, director of Trade Unions in Tromsø, said that the implementation of the AWD into Norwegian law "would be the most powerful attack Norwegian trade unions and Norwegian employees have ever seen."

While advocates of the directive point out that the AWD will offer equal treatment to temporary employees, including when it comes to pay, opponents argue that the AWD will increase temporary jobs and decrease permanent employment. Last week, government reports have allegedly been leaked to the public also claiming that the legal implications of the directive will cause “significant” changes when it comes to job stability in the country.

The coalition party itself is split over the issue and in fact many see the whole debate on the AWD more as a resistance against Europe than necessarily against the AWD itself. 

Last month one of Norway’s largest unions already organised strikes against the directive, which it believes will cause “a two-tier layer system in the workplace”, for instance allowing staffing agencies to operate on lower pension terms.

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