*Nettavisen* Nyheter.

Strike among government employees possible

5800 government employees may go to strike as of Thursday morning.

LO Stat (the Norwegian Federation of Trade Unions, government), Yrkesorganisasjones Sentralforbund (YS) and the Confederation of Higher Education Unions, Norway, (UHO) have informed that 5800 employees may be on strike as of Thursday if the three organizations do not reach an agreement with the government.

The parties appear to be far from reaching a solution at this point. The main problems are the total framework in the wage negotiation, disagreement regarding local wages and the proposed changes in the sick pay scheme.

Currently time is running out for the negotiation between the local government and the Federation of Norwegian Professional Associations. The conflict between these two groups may lead to teachers nation wide go on strike.

When the negotiations started about three weeks ago Reidar Webster, state mediator, said he viewed the task as almost «impossible.» The main problems are the sick pay scheme and the struggle regarding the division of salaries centrally and locally.

«It looks difficult, but we are optimistic in that we hope to find a solution,» said Jørn Skille, the government’s mediator, to TV 2 Nettavisen.

«There is now doubt that the parties are far apart in this case,» said Stein Erik Syrstad, head of information at LO Stat, to TV 2 Nettavisen. «We do not wish for a conflict, but there is no doubt that we will strike if we are forced to.»

LO Stat has stated the 3500 members may strike, hitting a number of directorates and government agencies. The strike will particularly hit the Norwegian Tax Authority and its local offices in the major cities.

If there is a strike, the Norwegian customs and Excise will also be affected. The officers at Svinesund and Ørje will go on strike, in addition to personnel at most ferry ports.

The Norwegian Federation of Trade Unions stressed that the strike is only the first phase in the conflict, and the strike may include more members if the organizations consider it necessary. The three organizations have a total of 130,000 government employee members.

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