SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

STRIKES

How do salary and wages work if you’re on strike in Norway

Each year, the wages of employees in Norway who fall under a collective agreement are subject to joint pay settlement negotiations. During this process, strikes often take place. But what happens to your salary during the strike?

Wallet
If you're new to Norway's work culture and union arrangement, here's how a strike will affect your salary. Photo by Alicia Christin Gerald on Unsplash

A majority of all employees in Norway are covered by a collective agreement, which means that their wages are collectively negotiated on an annual basis.

These negotiations are usually carried out between employer interest organisations and labour union umbrella organisations, and – aside from salaries – they often involve discussions about benefits and working conditions.

In every collective negotiation cycle, the union members must prepare for the possibility of a strike. If you’re a newcomer to Norway’s work-life and union system, you might have a number of questions about what to expect during a strike.

One of the most pressing ones will likely be related to what happens to your income during the labour dispute.

What happens to your salary during a strike

Companies stop making salary payments to striking employees for the duration of the strike. Note that the salary you have accumulated at the point in time when the strike starts must be paid out.

However, union members on strike receive a strike allowance or compensation from their union. The compensation usually amounts to somewhere around 70 percent of your gross salary, but as it’s tax-free, people are typically paid roughly the same as their regular net salary. The strike allowance is intended to provide financial support to union members who are on strike.

Strike compensation payments can be paid starting from the month employees stop receiving wages, although it’s more common for the payments to be made the following month, as that is usually when employers register and process salary deductions.

The trade unions are responsible for registering and following up on which type of compensation individual members are entitled to. However, the process is not completely automated – union members often need to (digitally) fill in some paperwork and send it to the union.

Most employers in Norway give the trade unions access to necessary financial information and account numbers so that employees don’t have to provide this information to the unions themselves. Nonetheless, it’s a good idea to have your payslip from the previous month available during the strike, either as a printout on paper or digitally stored.

After the trade union has made the necessary arrangements, the strike payments are made via online banking. The strike contributions are transferred to members’ accounts quickly after approval – as long as the bank account number the unions have registered is correct.

The effects of a strike on benefits

When a strike takes place, your employer’s salary obligations cease. The salary earned in the period before the strike occurs is paid out as soon as possible, and at the latest, on the first payday after the labour dispute has ended.

From the time a strike takes place, employees who are working outside the company are no longer entitled to lodging allowance. They are also not entitled to travel money back to their starting destination.

The employees’ right to use company cars, telephones, and similar benefits also ceases in the event of a strike, and workers who are on strike are not entitled to sick pay.

Agreed-upon holidays and holiday pay remain in effect regardless of the labour dispute. If the employer fails to pay out holiday pay, the holiday cannot be considered to have been completed during the absence.

Daily allowances are not granted to those who participate in a strike. The same applies to those laid off due to a strike.

Make sure to check for the detailed strike rules that apply in your case with your union organisation, as each union determines the level of the strike compensation – and other details – individually.

You can find examples of strike guidelines and further useful information from the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) and FriFagbevegelse here.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

OSLO

What commuters need to know about travel in and out of Oslo

Living outside Oslo is considerably cheaper and has other perks, too, such as a more relaxed pace of life. As a result, commuting into the capital has become increasingly popular.

What commuters need to know about travel in and out of Oslo

Rent and house prices have seen more people decide to live outside Oslo and commute in for work.

There are several other reasons, besides money, that people would want to commute into the capital. They may have flexible working hours and prefer to live in a quieter location.

They may also want to live closer to nature or, if they have children, be closer to their children’s extended family.

Still, there are quite a few things you should know about commuting in and out of Oslo.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about Norway’s commuter tax deductions

What are the pros?

In other cities, London is an example, and it’s not uncommon to hear stories of workers who commute two hours into the city each day.

Even some people living in large cities like Tokyo, London, and New York will spend an hour each way just getting across the city to work.

Thankfully, this isn’t the case in Oslo. Given how small the city is and the different transport options available, long commutes really don’t need to be the case when living outside of Oslo.  

Trains from towns like Ski and Lillestrøm can reach Oslo in 10 minutes. Even if you head a bit further out to Asker, the train only takes 20 minutes, while from Drammen, the commute is about 30 minutes.

A bit further out, the commute from Drobåk can be done in around 40 minutes. Meanwhile, the train from Kongsberg takes just over an hour.

There are also plenty of options, there is a pretty robust network of busses ferrying workers into Oslo Bus Terminal everyday, there are regional trains, many choose to drive, and there are even ferries across the Oslofjord you can choose to take. 

The other pros, as we’ve mentioned, are being able to live in a calmer environment, being closer to nature, and saving money on rent or mortgage payments.

What are the costs?

For most, public transport may well end up being the way they get to work, as in some cases it can be quicker than driving.

Given how common toll roads are, the cost of running a car, when you also take into account fuel and insurance, can add up.

It’s also hard to put an estimate on the cost of running a car as it will depend on the fuel economy, route you take, distance your drive and whether the car needs regular repairs.  

The commuting cost for public transport will be easy to calculate if you live in the Akershus region. This is because public transport firm Ruter is responsible for the Akershus, which surrounds Oslo.

Essentially, the cost of a ticket (when using Ruter’s yearly travel ticket) ranges between 15,894 for two zones, 22,845 kroner for three zones, and the same for travel across all zones.

When using the train with Vy, the cost of a season pass in areas where Ruter operates is the same as that of Ruter.

Given that Oslo is the most expensive area to rent, the money you save on rent is unlikely to be eaten up by the cost of a rail ticket.

Are there any downsides?

Yes. The main issue for those commuting in and out of Oslo via train is punctuality. In recent years, train traffic has become much less punctual, and services have been heavily affected by signal failure.

More than 700 signal failures have occurred over the past five years, according to figures from network rail operator Bane Nor.

Such failures are most common when traffic from Oslo Central Station is at its peak, such as rush hour.

During the first six months of 2024, around 76 percent of rush hour trains have been on schedule, which is well below the target of 85 percent.

Capacity has also been an issue. Despite how frequently the trains run, they can still be overcrowded during peak hours.

There are plans to address this, as double-decker trains will be introduced in the coming years on regional trains in eastern Norway (these are trains that carry the R designation). However, these plans don’t provide an immediate solution to the issue, as they may not be in place for another 5-6 years.

SHOW COMMENTS