Church employees in Norway announce strike: “We are very disappointed”

ChurchPhoto: Stefan Kunze / Unsplash
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A total of 21 church employees are going on strike on Saturday morning after the negotiating parties failed to reach an agreement on Saturday night.

“We have gone to great lengths to meet the unions’ demands within a responsible framework. For us, it is therefore very unfortunate that they choose to strike in this situation,” CEO Marit Halvorsen Hougsnæs in the KA – Employers’ Organization for church activities noted.

A total of 21 employees will go on strike at the start of working hours on Saturday. 

In addition, another twelve employees from Kirkelig Undervisningsforbund and Creo (the association for art and culture), respectively, have been taken out on strike.

“Very disappointed”

10 out of 22 unions in the Church sector chose to break off the negotiations within the main collective bargaining agreement at the end of October. 

Now the mediation for these ten has ended in a strike. Negotiations with the other unions were put on hold pending the outcome of the last round of mediation.

“We are very disappointed that the employer has forced the Church into a strike just before Christmas. 

“Our main demand is not a higher salary level, but to maintain the current level for the priests of the future. 

“The most important thing for us is to help solve the recruitment crisis and thus secure the Church’s future,” Unio KA’s chief negotiator Kristian Mollestad noted.

Several affected

Among those affected by the strike from Saturday morning are the diocese of Oslo and some congregations in Asker, Bærum, Vestre Aker and Søndre Aker, as well as others.

One of the reasons for the breakdown in the negotiations and the mediation is disagreement about whether a permanent salary compensation of approximately NOK 60,000 should also apply to new employees after September 1, 2021, or whether the employer should then have the opportunity to use the five lowest salary steps, which the unions want to be removed.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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