You will find the answers to your questions about strikes here.
Who decides who will be called out on strike?
It is NITO, possibly in consultation with the confederation*, and local employee representatives that decide which groups will be affected by a strike.
The local strike committees will then consider which groups/individuals will be called out in the event of a dispute. It is important to shield third parties as far as possible. The aim is to have the greatest possible financial impact on the employer, not customers or patients.
When a strike starts, members who are taking holiday, leave of absence or equivalent will not be called out to begin with. Individuals who have applied for/are due to retire with a contractual early retirement pension must be kept out of the dispute.
*The Federation of Norwegian Professional Associations in central and local government and SAN (the association of academic organisations in Spekter). In the private sector the decision is made by NITO Privat, the central collective agreement committee
When will I know if I have to go on strike?
Members who may be called out on strike will be duly notified four days before the mediation deadline (or escalation). If you are notified that you may be called out on strike, you will receive a text message when the mediation deadline expires informing you of whether or not a strike is called.
You should not go on strike before you have been notified to do. Mediation can run into overtime, so you must turn up for work on that day until you are notified otherwise.
If you do not receive such notification, you must go to work until you are notified otherwise. A strike can be escalated, but always with four days' notice.
A strike can be escalated with four days' notice. So even though you are not called out during the first phase of a strike, you may be called out if it escalates. In such cases, you will be notified of this.
If a strike is called and you have not been notified, there are still some things you must keep in mind, but we will provide more information about this if a strike is called.
What is expected of me while I am on strike?
- When you are called out on strike, you are at NITO's disposal for as long as the strike lasts.
- As long as the strike lasts, you may not decide to return to work.
- As long as the strike lasts, you may not quit your job.
- You will not be exempted from the strike even if you resign your membership in NITO. Any resignations received after a strike is announced will not be put into effect until the strike is over.
What do I do if I am not called out on strike?
Members whose names are not on the list of those who are called out on strike have the right and obligation to continue working as normal. The general rule is that the strike should neither limit nor expand the obligation to work of employees who are not affected by the strike. In other words, you should perform your work duties as normal, neither more nor less.
If you are not on strike, you may not be ordered to perform the work of employees who are on strike. If you do, it will be regarded as strike-breaking.
Reassigning employees who are not on strike in order to fill the positions of striking employees must be regarded as strike-breaking and cannot be accepted. This also applies to reorganising shifts or work plans and introducing staggered working hours. In such cases, the employer must instead apply for individual employees to be exempted from the strike.
What are the duties of the pickets?
The pickets' duties are to:
- Make sure that members who are called out on strike do not perform work for their employer.
- Arrange for members who are not on strike to have access to their workplace.
- Prevent the employer from expanding its manpower at individual strike sites or from expanding the work duties of those who are not on strike.
- Prevent strike-breaking; in other words, make sure that those who are not on strike do not take over the work duties of striking employees.
The employer has the opportunity to deny pickets access to the workplace. However, it is unusual for this to happen.
If the pickets see that someone is performing the work of an employee who is on strike, they must not intervene themselves, but instead contact the strike committee. The strike committee will raise the matter with the employer's representatives.
The pickets must maintain close contact with their local strike committee at all times.
The number of pickets is decided locally, based on the anticipated scope of the strike.
How do I relate to my employer while I am on strike?
Formally speaking, your employment relationship is temporarily suspended while you are on strike. This means that all obligations your employer has to you are suspended for the duration of the strike. For example, salary disbursements are stopped and holiday leave is not granted.
During the strike, all normal contact with the employer is suspended apart from matters involving exemption applications.
During the strike, all communication between striking employees and the employer must be conducted via the strike committee. It may be practical to hold daily meetings with the administration at the enterprise/workplace affected by the strike.
If questions arise about exemptions, reorganisation of working hours, etc. from parties other than the enterprise's senior management (appointed employer representative), they must be referred to the enterprise's management.
How will I receive information during the strike?
The local strike committee is responsible for keeping members who are on strike informed. Information should ideally be given at daily strike meetings and by members of the strike committee regularly visiting the pickets.
Can the employer lay off employees during the strike?
Yes. The employer may lay off employees who, on account of the strike, cannot be given work in a rational manner. Special notice rules apply in such cases. The conditions for laying off employees must nonetheless be considered in relation to the basic agreement.
How is the strike ended?
A strike can be ended in one of the following ways:
- The employer meets the employees' demands.
- NITO* decides to call off the strike.
- The parties return to the negotiating table and reach an agreement.
- If a risk to life or health arises, compulsory arbitration may be invoked. The Storting (Norwegian parliament) will then intervene and order the strike to be called off.
- The parties may also to enter into voluntary arbitration. This usually happens if the parties see that they are unable to reach a solution themselves. The National Wages Board will then find a way of resolving the dispute.
You will receive a message informing you that the strike has ended via e-mail and text message.
Striking employees must be ready to return to work promptly once the strike has ended, normally on the following morning.
*Or, where applicable, the Federation of Norwegian Professional Associations in central and local government or SAN in Spekter.
Holiday leave, leave of absence, official travel and sickness
Can I take holiday leave or time off in lieu during the strike?
- Holiday leave that was booked or agreed before work stoppage must be taken, and holiday pay must be paid.
- The employer may not change the time for holiday leave on account of the strike. This also applies to employees who are not called out on strike.
- The employer has the same right to impose holiday leave as it has otherwise – including on striking employees.
- Employees who have planned to take holiday leave during a strike must notify NITO.
- Time off in lieu/flexible days off may not be taken during the strike.
I am due to take a leave of absence – what happens then?
Paid or unpaid leaves of absence that have already been agreed in writing with the employer may be taken as planned.
What happens if I am on official travel when the strike starts?
Members who are on official travel are affected by the strike unless they have been exempted in advance. This means that the employer is not obliged to pay for accommodation or the return trip if the strike starts while the employee is on official travel.
NITO must be notified of all official travel that is planned during an anticipated strike in order to assess and potentially exempt the employees concerned from the strike.
What happens if I fall ill while on strike?
If you fall ill while you are on strike, you are not entitled to sickness benefit, but you will receive a strike allowance from NITO. Notify the strike committee if you fall ill.
I am on sick leave – what happens to my payments from NAV (Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration)?
Employees who are on sick leave before the strike starts are entitled to sickness benefit from NAV during the strike.
However, members who are put on sick leave or are taking a leave of absence must not be called out on strike.
What happens to my salary during the strike?
- Salary payments to striking employees will be stopped during the strike.
- The salary you have accumulated at the point in time when the strike starts must be paid.
- As a general principle, no salary may be paid in advance.
Members who are on strike will receive a strike allowance from NITO. The net salary will be paid. The strike allowance is not taxable.
Members who are on strike will have their salary payments stopped as long as the strike lasts. Pay deductions in connection with the strike will be made in arrears.
The strike allowance is intended to provide financial assistance to members who are called out on strike. It is NITO's Executive Board that adopts the decision to pay strike allowance. This support is intended to ensure that members do not lose out financially from being called out on strike, but it will not necessarily cover the full amount of income lost.
- Allowances for scheduled shifts/rosters will be paid.
- No strike allowance will be paid for strike days which, according to the roster, are days off.
Procedures for paying strike allowance will normally be decided well in advance of the strike.
Employees who work during the strike based on exemptions shall not have their salary deducted for those days. No strike allowance shall therefore be paid for such days.
What happens to the pension scheme and insurance?
Rights that follow from the employer's group insurance schemes may be affected by the strike. NITO therefore takes out insurance that covers occupational injury, group life and non-occupational accident insurance for members on strike.
The strike may have consequences for pension earnings and for withdrawals of the contractual early retirement pension. However, the rules will differ depending on where you work.
Exemptions from the strike
Who may be exempted from the strike?
The basic agreement obliges the local parties to negotiate on exempting individuals or groups from the strike, such as individuals who will retire with a contractual early retirement pension during the period in which the strike may be called.
The local employee representatives and employer representatives may agree on which individuals should be exempted. An exemption means that these individuals will not be put on the list of employees for which notice of work stoppage is given.
Employee representatives: What do you do if you are summoned to a meeting to discuss exemptions from the strike before it is known whether or not a strike will be called?
If the employer summons you to a meeting to discuss exemptions from the strike, you should attend the meeting. However, the question of whether or not you should enter into discussions about who may be exempted will depend on where we are in the process.
Up to four days before a potential strike, it is not known which enterprises or which individuals are planned to be called out on strike.
It is therefore premature to hold such a meeting before it is known whether or not the enterprise will be called out on strike. Nor can the employee representatives say whether or not their enterprise will be called out on strike at this stage in the process.
If the employer nonetheless calls such a meeting to discuss exemptions – before it is known whether or not a strike will be called – the meeting must end with you signing a disagreement protocol.
Who may apply for exemption from the strike?
The employer must apply for exemption from the strike for individual employees. The grounds must cover situations that entail a risk to life or health. Exemption from a strike may be granted for specific employees for whom notice of work stoppage has been given.
As a general rule, NITO will be restrictive in granting applications for exemption, since it may undermine the overall effect of the strike. On the other hand, the trade unions that strike are obliged to ensure that a strike does not entail a risk to life or health.
The application for exemption must be tendered in writing and must state the grounds for the need for exemption. The application must not be general in nature, but rather must concern specific employees for whom notice of work stoppage has been given or who are already on strike.
What work duties can the employer perform itself?
For most managers, the same rules apply as those for others who are not called out on strike. In other words, the supervisors of those on strike shall perform their normal work duties as usual.
However, employees in the enterprise's senior management, such as general managers, will be regarded as representatives of the employer and as the striking employees' counterparty in the dispute. They may therefore perform work that is normally performed by the striking employees in order to avert hazards to life or health or substantial material damage without breaking the strike. This only applies to senior managers.
If middle managers are called out on strike, the responsibility and supervisory role will be escalated.
Terms and expressions
A work stoppage is a list of names of who will be called out on strike. This must be submitted at least four days before a strike may start.
Notice of work stoppage
Notice of work stoppage means that notification will be given to the employer as the counterparty and to the National Mediator of Norway that a dispute has arisen. It contains a list of the enterprises and the number of members that will be affected by a potential strike.