Huge bill for cutting costs

Foto: (Foto: Forsvaret)

The Norwegian military has cut 2000 employees the last couple of years, but at the same time, the number of consultants has increased, and the bill is huge.

The Norwegian military used NOK 1.5 billion (USD 217 million) on consultants and overtime last year, equaling 3,000 man-labor years, according to the Norwegian paper Adresseavisen.

The military is supposed to reduce the number of employees with 5,000 within the end of 2005 with help from the so-called restructuring program Argus. However, the restructuring has currently not lead to any reductions of expenditures on the salary budget, stated Brigadier Øyvind Kirsebom Strandman, when he gave a briefing to the employees at Ørland main air station.

«Unfortunately, the restructuring is directed too much by the number of man-labor years,» Strandman stated. «I wish we could get freer hands. Many of the tasks carried out by the people who are made redundant must be done in other ways. As a result, that means that the salary of permanent employees is replaced by overtime and consultants.»

Strandman said that they have saved money on other posts, and he said he wished that those reductions to a larger degree were focused on in stead of man-labor years.

Didrik Coucheron, head of Befalets Fellesorganisasjon, also claims that the goal of making 5000 employees redundant is a gross miscalculation. He said that the organization has stated this time and time again at the Ministry of Defense, but «it appears as of they have a religious relationship to the idea.»

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