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Norway  Norway

Key Facts

Population4,985,870
Collective Bargaining Coverage 70%
Proportion of Employees in Unions 52%
Principal Level of Collective Bargaining

national and industry

Workplace Representation

union – “works councils” exist in some companies but their role is to improve competitiveness

Board-level Representation

yes: state-owned and private companies

Company Board Structure

monistic

Trade Unions

More than half Norway’s employees are in unions and although union density has declined slightly in recent years, union membership has increased. The majority of unions are grouped in four confederations, LO, UNIO, YS and Akademikerne. While UNIO and Akademikerne primarily organise more highly qualified employees, there is direct membership competition between LO and YS unions.

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Collective Bargaining

Agreements reached at national level provide much of the industrial relations framework that in other countries would be provided by legislation. Below this there is a hierarchical structure of annual negotiations at both industry and company/organisation level which set terms and conditions for around 70% of the workforce.

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Workplace Representation

Union representatives provide the most important element of workplace representation in Norway and play the main role in information and consultation, employee representation and local negotiations.

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Board-level Representation

The right to have a single employee representative at board level starts with companies with 30 employees in Norway. In companies with more than 50 workers, one third of board members are elected by and come from the employees.

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European-level Representation

There is a difference in the way that Norwegian representatives on European Works Councils and those within the European Company are chosen. While representatives for the EWC are elected by all employees, representatives in the European Company structure are, in the first instance, chosen by the local unions.

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Financial Participation

By European comparison workers’ financial participation schemes in Norway are relatively widespread. Since the 1980s profit-sharing and employee share ownership schemes have been customary in large Norwegian companies.

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