Norway fish farm strike threat grows ahead of pay talks

man leaning over salmon pen with net

The threat of a strike among Norwegian fish farm workers appears to be growing, according to reports from Oslo this week.

News agency NTB kommunikasjon says talks between the employer group Seafood Norway and the large union organisation Fellesforbundet are due to begin on Thursday and last for two days.

But the agency says that if there is no deal, the first walk-out of more than 200 fish farm workers at some 20 companies could begin on Saturday. It does not say, however, what the impact on production might be.

It appears there have been behind the scenes talks but the ombudsman in such matters has now summoned the two sides to compulsory mediation talks.

The aquaculture agreement is a collective deal between Fellesforbundet and Seafood Norway, and applies to over 3,000 union members in the aquaculture industry although it is not clear if such a large number are involved in these current talks.

Union negotiator Christian Justnes has said the talks are likely to be demanding but stressed that his goal was to reach an agreement with Seafood Norway.

He said negotiations broke off because the first offer from the employers was simply not good enough.

“I have a clear expectation that we will now encounter a different attitude,” he added. “Our members must have money in their pockets.”

NTB reports that Justnes and the rest of the negotiating team have received a clear message from the members they are well prepared to go on strike, if necessary.

Last week the employers’ body agreed a pay deal with fishmeal and feed factory workers.


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