What are the levels of collective bargaining in Norway?
National – At this level, basic agreements (hovedavtalene) are established which include employers ‘confederations and workers’ organizations. They regulate issues such as: procedures for the election of employee representatives (there are no provisions on this subject in national law), gender equality, occupational health and safety, rules of control and evaluation of the implementation of the agreement. The level of wages is not negotiated at this level.
Industry – At this level, among others, the scale of wage growth (taking into account international competitiveness). In Norway, there is no specific minimum wage, but it is determined by industry-specific collective agreements. It should be noted that negotiations always start with the private manufacturing sector, the construction sector and parts of the private services sector – the level of their wage growth is the starting point for other parts of the private sector, such as finance, commerce, and privatized or public enterprises. This is explained by the interests of the manufacturing industry, which is export-oriented. At this level, the following are negotiated: remuneration and payroll systems, holidays, working hours, costs of business trips, health and safety issues, special leaves, early retirement, anti-discrimination solutions and others.
Company – Negotiations at this level take into account the specificity of individual workplaces. Importantly, they cannot contain terms less favorable than those set out in industry agreements, unless the industry agreement contains an appropriate provision. At this level, the following are negotiated: higher wage rates (or no increase in wages), use of the social fund, increasing employment, reorganizing the company.
P. Ostrowski, Życie i praca po norwesku, część pierwsza: związki zawodowe, „Związkowiec” nr 3/2013