Norwegian ministers hold meeting with Wizz Air, express concerns about low wages in the airline

Wizz Air airplane at airportPhoto: Markus Winkler / Unsplash
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The low-cost airline Wizz Air received a lecture on the Norwegian tripartite model in a meeting with several ministers on Thursday.

At the meeting, Minister of Transport and Communications Knut Arild Hareide (KrF) asked questions about how the company, which is now establishing itself in Norway, can have such low wage costs. 

The response he received? Much of the business is outsourced. 

“But I am worried that it (the reason) is because employees there have terms and conditions that are not in accordance with the Norwegian standard,” Hareide told news bureau NTB.

Equal requirements

Minister of Trade and Industry Iselin Nybø (V) also attended the meeting.

“We also set requirements for companies that want to operate in Norway, including how they will treat employees – we have also signaled this in the meeting today. 

“A prerequisite for the competition to be healthy is that the companies comply with the same requirements,” she said.

Hareide emphasized his own background from the business community when he addressed the importance of the Norwegian model, where the trade unions are consulted and play a constructive and important role in the business community.

Against collective agreements

Wizz Air’s establishment in Norway has led to a heated debate about working conditions and employee rights. 

The company’s CEO József Váradi stated that Wizz Air will not enter into collective agreements with trade unions.

Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) recently wrote that pilots in Wizz Air must pay for pensions, insurance, and sickness benefits themselves, among other things. 

According to the newspaper, the pilots receive payment per flight hour, which provides them with incomes between EUR 0 and EUR 8,500 a month.

Wizz Air’s route Oslo-Haugesund starts on December 4, while Oslo-Kirkenes and Oslo-Alta will start on December 15 and December 18, respectively.

Follow up

The Minister of Transport and Communications will have to tell the Norwegian parliament (Storting) next week what he plans to do next to follow up on Wizz Air’s efforts in Norway.

“Wizz Air cannot operate in Norway as long as the company violates the right (of workers) to organize and refuses to enter into collective agreements,” Red Party (Rødt) leader Bjørnar Moxnes told NTB.

“There must be clear requirements for wages and working conditions. The government must ensure zero tolerance for social dumping in aviation and Norwegian working life,” he added.

Wizz Air has stated that it complies with applicable laws and regulations in all countries in which it operates.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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