Welcome to Norway
Our members come from many different countries, and we know that many foreign workers who work in Norway experience problems in the workplace. Many have problems in getting the wages they are entitled to. Some are dismissed from their jobs without good reason. Others become the victims of “social dumping”, or they find themselves in a vulnerable working situation after the company they work for is reorganised.
In such situations, you need to be a union member and have a collective agreement to refer to. This is when you need to have a trade union behind you, so that your rights do not get trampled on. As a union member you will be safer, and you can get help when you need it.
It is normal to be a member of a trade union in Norway. In many workplaces you will be expected to join a trade union. You cannot be sacked from your job simply because you are a member of a trade union. However, occasionally unscrupulous employers threaten such action, especially against foreign employees. Nevertheless, very strict regulations apply in this regard in Norway, and the Norwegian Transport Workers’ Union has many years’ experience of warding off such threats. If you prefer, you can be a member without your boss knowing about it. The choice is yours. And you should know that we, as a trade union, will never do anything without asking you, our member.
The Norwegian Transport Workers’ Union is completely independent of the government, and the union’s leadership all have extensive personal experience of the transport industry. We have special expertise in transport workers’ needs and wishes. We are here to make your working day better. Please contact us if you have any questions.
Because you work in a country that is not your homeland, you will often be in a vulnerable position. Legislation leaves many loopholes for employers who want to swindle their employees, and, on your own, you can often be powerless. As a member of the trade union, you have the right to legal assistance, and we have access to the best lawyers when you need help and advice.
There are also many other benefits to being a member. Here are some of the many benefits of being a trade union member and being covered by a collective agreement.
|Wages||No rules||Wages set in accordance with the agreement. Moreover, most employees have the right to annual local wage negotiations|
|Wage settlement||No right to speak or right to vote||Right to speak and right to vote|
|Working hours||40-hour week||37.5-hour week|
|Payments for overtime (night and weekend work)||No rules||Payments set in accordance with the agreement|
|Payments for shift work agreement||No rules||Payments set in accordance with the|
|Early-Retirement Pension Agreement (AFP)||Cannot retire with AFP||
Can retire with AFP
|Influence||Provisions of the Norwegian Companies Act||The Basic Agreement provides a range of additional rights. In a group along with others, your voice will be heard!|
|Dismissal||Must pay for own lawyer||Free legal aid and assistance from branch and union|
|Paid holiday||4 weeks + 1 day = 10.2% holiday pay||5 weeks = 12% holiday pay|
|Occupational injuries||Must pay for own lawyer||Free legal aid and assistance from branch and union|
|Confiscation of driving licence when driving for work*||Must pay for own lawyer||Free legal aid and assistance from branch and union|
|Confiscation of driving licence when driving privately*||Must pay for own lawyer||Unlimited legal assistance from HELP Forsikring (insurance company)|
|Divorce and other civil-law matters*||Must pay for own lawyer||Legal assistance from HELP Forsikring (insurance company)|
|Education||No support||Support from the LO (Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions) educational fund; free courses and conferences in branch and union|
|Strike/lockout||No support, no unemployment benefit||Minimum NOK 2,100 per week support from branch/union|
Being a trade union member and being covered by a collective agreement are not the same thing. You can be a member of a trade union but work for a company without a collective agreement. In such cases, you are entitled to many of the rights described above, but not all.
* Note that HELP Forsikring insurance only covers cases covered by Norwegian legislation and that are brought before Norwegian courts.
Excellent insurance cover
As a member you are also covered by the following collective insurance schemes:
LO favør Kollektiv Hjem (Collective Home) – comprehensive insurance for household contents and personal belongings. For members in employment whose permanent residential address is outside the Nordic region, this insurance only applies while the member is living in the Nordic region, and the total amount of cover is then limited to NOK 200,000.
LO favør Grunnforsikring (Basic Life Insurance) – immediate financial aid in the event of death. Covers death in leisure time or at work anywhere in the world.
LO favør Fritidsulykkesforsikring (Leisure Accident Insurance) – covers the death or long-term medical incapacity of a member as the result of an accident in leisure time anywhere in the world. Medical fees paid to doctors or dentists outside the Nordic region are not covered.
HELP Forsikring – legal insurance providing your entire family with legal assistance in civil-law matters. The insurance only covers cases that are covered by Norwegian legislation and that are brought before Norwegian courts.
Because our insurance schemes are collective and apply to all members, the prices are low. As a member you do not have to pay anything for this cover apart from your membership fee.
In most workplaces the membership fee is deducted from your payslip when you are paid. The organisation fee is calculated as a percentage of the member’s gross pay, although if the gross pay is more than NOK 34.124 per month, the basis for the calculation remains NOK 34.124 (as of 1 January 2012). On average the rate works out at 1.7%.
In addition all members pay an insurance fee of NOK 138 per month (as of 1 Janyary 2012), which covers the cost of the insurance premiums.
Separate rates apply for taxi drivers and hauliers.
School pupils, apprentices and students can benefit from their own favourable offers.
When you come to fill in your self-assessment tax return, you will receive an allowance for trade union fees paid up to NOK 3,660 per year (as of the 2011 tax year). When you also consider all the other benefits you receive as a member, you will soon find that it pays to be a union member.
Taxation in Norway
When you work in Norway, it is the responsibility of your employer to deduct tax from your wages and pay this tax to the tax authorities. If your employer does not do this, the tax authorities can demand that you, the wage earner, pay them the tax. The Norwegian tax authorities work together with other countries to collect any such taxes.
Make sure you have a written contract of employment, and keep all your wage slips. Also look after any documentation you have about how much you have worked.
Do not register as a sole trader!
An increasing number of foreign workers are being tricked, pressured or tempted into registering as a sole trader. In this way the employers try to circumvent the minimum requirements for wages and other working conditions that are set in accordance with the collective agreement. Running your own business may sound attractive, but many find that it brings problems. For example, you are not covered by the same insurance schemes, and you have no right to holiday pay, overtime pay or sick pay as wage earners do.
The Norwegian Transport Workers’ Union
The Norwegian Transport Workers’ Union is a trade union that has more than 20,000 members working in the transport industry across the whole of Norway. It is affiliated with the largest employee organisation in Norway, the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO). We were founded in 1896, and we have more than 100 years’ experience of setting up collective agreements. We are specialists in pay terms and working conditions, and we are proud of what we have achieved.
The Norwegian Transport Workers’ Union is completely independent of the government, and is not affiliated with any political party. However, this does not mean that we have no opinions. We get involved in all matters that are of significance for our members’ working day. We lobby the political parties for more financial support for public transport and road building, and we participate in hearings at the Norwegian parliament. We are involved in international work, for instance providing financial support to centres run by Norwegian People’s Aid to train mine-detection dogs, to name just one cause. We have a high-profile leadership that participates in public debate. We know that our members prefer clear speech!
The Norwegian Transport Workers’ Union has 20 branches throughout all counties of Norway, where members can receive assistance or participate in activities. Our members are organised into workplace groups, each of which has a union representative to assist the members. The union is headquartered in Oslo.
You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.
The Norwegian Transport Workers’ Union
Hammersborg Torg 3, NO-0179 Oslo, Norway
Telephone: +47 40 64 64 64
Fax: +47 22 20 50 89