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Norway – Opposition against European Agency Directive is growing amongst Labour Party

13 February 2012

The opposition against the implementation of the European employment agency directive (AWD) in Norway is growing amongst the country’s ruling Labour Party, which has traditionally supported the new regulations on temporary employment. The pressure on the Labour leadership is increasing as the “controversial” AWD is seen to undermine permanent jobs in the country by fostering the growth of temporary employment.

While trade unions have already organised mass protests against the AWD, the antagonistic sentiments are now also growing within the Labour Party itself. This weekend Labour councils in two large Norwegian towns, Bergen and Trondheim, have urged the Government to veto the AWD, joining three other Cities which had previously spoken out against the directive.   

“We want permanent employment to be the norm in Norwegian working life in the future, and many fear the consequences of the employment agency directive,” said Martha Mjøs-Persen, Labour leader for Bergen.

Many also see the opposition against the AWD as a direct resistance to the growing influence of the EEA (European Economic Area) of which Norway is a member.

"The debate on the directive is also characterised by the EEA resistance, and is almost blurring the main focus of what the directive is about, namely that we need orderly conditions in the temporary employment industry across Europe," wrote Labour policy spokeswoman Anette Tired Bergestuen.

However, Rune Olsø of the Trondheim Labour Party, which is against the AWD, said that this was not the case. “This is not about views on the EU or the EEA, but about the AWD. We support the intentions the parliamentary group has expressed to ensure equal rights, regardless of nationality or background. But the signal is that many of our members are uncertain about the legislative changes of the directive.”

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