Mediation breaks down, security guard strike continues

Security guard strikePhoto: Jil Yngland / NTB
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After a four-week strike, the parties in the security guard strike met for forced mediation on Thursday, but the mediation did not succeed.

NHO Service and Trade (NHO Service og Handel) announced that mediation failed after eleven hours of talks at the State Conciliator of Norway.

“We strongly apologize for the strain this labor dispute has on those who are dependent on security services, both in the public space and in the private sector,” director of NHO Service and Trade Anne Cecilie Kaltenborn noted.

“NHO claims they have come up with a good offer. Parat believes the offer is worse than what we are strike for. Therefore, we had no choice but to continue the strike,” Parat’s chief negotiator Lars Petter Larsen noted.

“The distance between the parties is still too great, and we, therefore, saw no other option than to continue the strike for the guards’ moderate and legitimate demands,” union leader in the Norwegian Workers’ Union (Norsk Arbeidsmandsforbund) Anita Johansen said.

Escalation

The strike has now been going on for a month. On Friday, the State Conciliator called for statutory mediation between the parties NHO Service og Handel and the Norwegian Workers’ Union and Parat.

After an escalation on Wednesday, 2,169 guards are currently on strike. 

So far, the strike has led to the Oslo bus terminal closing at 8:00 PM and to Trondheim municipality having difficulty keeping a coronavirus testing station open.

“We have met the employee side on their main demands, and offered good wage supplements, similar to what other groups have agreed to,” Kaltenborn in NHO noted.

Layoffs

“The security industry was hit early on by the corona crisis, and it is still among the hardest hit industries this autumn, with around 1,000 employees laid off. 

“With this as a backdrop, it is very sad that the conflict is now continuing. The employee side can not ignore the situation that society and the security industry are in,” she said.

“The strike is primarily about the guards not being left behind in the wage developments. After the strike in 2010, we agreed with the employers that the wage level in the industry should improve and approach the level in the industry. 

“After 2016, it has gone the opposite way, and guards now have less. We expect employers to abide by the agreement on better pay,” Anita Johansen at the Norwegian Workers’ Union said.

The security guards also demand compensation for inconvenient working hours, Johansen states.

“It is incomprehensible to us that employers oppose demands that are completely in line with what is expected of serious employers who take the tripartite cooperation seriously,” Johansen concluded.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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