Norway business organisation puts social dumping in focus / News / The Foreigner

Norway business organisation puts social dumping in focus. Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) representatives suggest the current government also considers measures to combat social dumping and illegal working practices in certain branches. “The Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (ØKOKRIM) and the NCIS (Kripos) has singled out some industries where the extent of social dumping is evident: Cleaning, car washing, transport, building, and nighspots are among them. Our comment to the Prime Minister is that we can help ensure that something is done here,” NHO director Svein Oppegaard told Klassekampen. The 2004 extension of the EU with 10 countries led to many people coming to Norway, particularly from Eastern Europe. Cost-levels in their home country were low, and they were willing to work for lower wages than their Norwegian peers.

work, socialdumping, norway, unions



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Norway business organisation puts social dumping in focus

Published on Friday, 2nd May, 2014 at 17:14 under the news category, by Sarah Bostock and Michael Sandelson   .

Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) representatives suggest the current government also considers measures to combat social dumping and illegal working practices in certain branches.

Norwegian border
Employers' organisations and unions would like to see improved measures against social dumping of foreign workers in Norway.Norwegian border
Photo: Hardo Müller/Flickr


“The Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (ØKOKRIM) and the NCIS (Kripos) has singled out some industries where the extent of social dumping is evident: Cleaning, car washing, transport, building, and nighspots are among them. Our comment to the Prime Minister is that we can help ensure that something is done here,” NHO director Svein Oppegaard told Klassekampen.

The 2004 extension of the EU with 10 countries led to many people coming to Norway, particularly from Eastern Europe. Cost-levels in their home country were low, and they were willing to work for lower wages than their Norwegian peers.

Moreover, Norway has no wage and working conditions for everyone carrying out work within a specific area, even if they are not part of it. Many Western European countries do. Social dumping was one result.

According to lawyer Rune Berg, foreign workers are exploited to both a worse degree and larger extent than before.

“The number of cases has risen dramatically since I started working on this field 15 years ago. The highest number of weekly enquires we get from foreign workers who have been treated extremely badly is between 30 and 40,” Mr Berg said to publication Dagsavisen this week.

“Some are extremely poorly paid, others aren’t paid at all. 10 to 12-hour working days or fictitious contracts are common,” he added, highlighting some workers live in miserable conditions as many have no accommodation when arriving. They also risk losing their job if they complain.

The Centre-Left coalition moved on the issue when in power. Officials stated in the 2010-11 governmental white paper (external link) that “some sectors, for instance cleaning and restaurants are characterised by a large number of questionable enterprises and social dumping.”

“Parts of working life are characterised by high levels of long-term sickness absence and social exclusion, for example within the health and care services and the transport sector. In addition, there is a future danger that questionable practices and social dumping will spread in Norwegian working life and will thus weaken our equality-based working life model and the foundation of an effective business sector.”

Norway’s government introduced a total of 20 initiatives (external link) and three plans of action to ensure decent working conditions in Norway within the guidelines of EEA law.

These included:

  • Identity cards within the building and construction industry.
  • Right of access to information for employee representatives.
  • Requirements to observe Norwegian standards for working conditions in municipal contracts (ILO Convention no.94).

Norway’s Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) wrote to incumbent Conservative (H) Prime Minister Erna Solberg before Easter with a list of seven measures. LO argues the social dumping practice still exists and is spreading to new industries.

Among them are establishing a larger, common, strategic initiative to combat illegal working practices, limiting the number of links in contract chains, and strengthening the law and practices regarding bankruptcy and access to trustees and assets.

At the same time, the NHO’s Svein Oppegaard calls for sector-specific programmes. His organisation, the Prime Minister, and LO recently met to discuss LO’s viewpoints regarding illegal work practices and social dumping.

“We are already very familiar with this [type of move] from the cleaning industry, with approval schemes and ID cards. We know that some industries wish to have their own measures. For example, several in the construction sector think we have to do something about the number of links in contract chains. This is unthinkable in other industries. You can’t implement excessively broad measures here, then, but apply them to the relevant sectors [instead],” he concluded.




Published on Friday, 2nd May, 2014 at 17:14 under the news category, by Sarah Bostock and Michael Sandelson   .

This post has the following tags: work, socialdumping, norway, unions.





  
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