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Over 24,000 Norwegian workers to strike after talks fail

More than 24,000 workers in Norway are set to go on strike next week after wage negotiations broke down with employers, two major unions announced.

The strike action, which begins on Monday, will cut across several industries, including construction, transport, manufacturing and hotels in the capital Oslo.

Talks between two umbrella organisations – the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) and the Confederation of Vocational Unions (YS) – and the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) had been ongoing since Friday.

But on Sunday, LO and YS rejected a draft proposal drawn up by a national mediator.

“We didn’t think that which was offered by NHO and finally was in the draft by the national mediator was good enough for us to accept it,” LO leader Peggy Hessen Folsvik told reporters.

The strike will begin from 6:00 am (0400 GMT) on Monday, she added, saying it was the first time in more than 20 years that LO had taken industrial action.

“It is of course regrettable to have to go on strike. We do not do it lightly.”

More to strike if deal not secured

The strike will affect industries such as construction, ferry operators and manufacturers, including Aker Solutions, Norsk Hydro and Carlsberg Group’s Ringnes unit.

According to media reports, LO demanded a five percent increase in purchasing power for its members.

The NHO employers’ body, which had accepted the mediator’s proposal, said it regretted the decision to go on strike.

“Norway should not have had to deal with this strike. NHO has been solution-orientated and negotiated constructively, but the other side did not meet us halfway,” NHO chief Ole Erik Almlid said in a statement.

LO – which represents some 970,000 members – said in a statement that its main goals in the negotiations had been “to ensure increased purchasing power, counteract low pay and prioritise equal pay”.

It said that 22,947 members would strike, while YS said 1,441 of its members would do so.

Both labour organisations have warned that more members will start striking on Friday if a deal is not reached.

READ MORE: “England nurses launch fresh strikes over pay”

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