Bid to cut state support for aquaculture redundancies

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Labour and two other Norwegian left-leaning parties have said they want to reform redundancy rules in the aquaculture industry.

More than 1,000 salmon process workers were handed layoff notices over the past couple of weeks, with the companies making it clear these are the consequences of the Oslo government’s ground rent tax proposal.

This was in spite of the fact that the tax will not apply to the processing sector.

But existing legislation means it is the state, not the industry, which picks up most of the tab for this action.

Tuva Moflag (Labour), a member of the Labour and a Social Affairs committee at the Storting,  told the left wing newspaper Klassekampen: “This is something we have to look at.”

Last year the Norwegian Trade and Industry Workers’ Association (NNN), which organises employees in the fishing industry, passed a national meeting resolution which stated that the farming industry “is a profitable and forward-looking industry that should receive special treatment.”

NNN Association secretary Yngve Hansen, said: “We believe there is reason to look at whether that exception should apply to the salmon industry.

Activity in the salmon industry is, in contrast to the wild fish industry, more predictable, and the industry has had such good earnings that they have the backbone to bear redundancies.”

“When we see how systematic the layoffs in aquaculture have been over so many years, we have to look at whether the degree of unpredictability that is used as a basis for the layoffs is sufficiently justified”, Moflag said to Klassekampen.