According to the Norwegian television station NRK, the two employees, who want to remain anonymous, claimed that it is a source of great irritation that smokers take one break every hour to smoke while non-smokers only get a 20 minutes lunch break.
Bad for the working environment
Gerd-Liv Valla, head of the Norwegian Federation of Trade Unions (LO), does not support the employees’ suggestion, and she said that a practice of giving non smokers more time off would be bad for the working environment.
“I want to warn against that kind of difference in treatment of employees,” said Valla in a debate during a conference about working environments, organized by Avdeling tobakk i Sosial- og helsedirektoratet, a government committee discussing tobacco questions.
Valla’s opinion is supported by Kari Huseby, department manager in Sosial- og helsedirektoratets tobakksavdeling, the health department’s tobacco branch.
“This can easily put employees up against each other. We claim that it is up to the specific business and employer to create the best working environment,” Huseby said.
Smoke free work place
Svein Erik Myrset, leader in Landsforeningen for hjerte- og lungesyke, the national organization for heart and lung illness, claimed that Nordland County should use this opportunity to create a smoke free work place.
According to the smoking law, no employer is required to provide any accommodation for smokers, and smokers can not demand smoking breaks, and according to the law, the employer can require that the work place is smoke free.