Tonje Brenna, Henrik Asheim | It can almost seem like an accident at work

Tonje Brenna, Henrik Asheim | It can almost seem like an accident at work
Tonje Brenna, Henrik Asheim | It can almost seem like an accident at work

The debate entry expresses the writer’s opinions.

From time to time, things come up in politics that are difficult to understand that anyone could be against. The inclusion effort is such a thing.

In Norway, over 600,000 people are completely out of work. There are probably 600,000 different reasons for this, but we know that many people cannot work even if they want to. This could, for example, be due to gaps in the CV or a disability.

Many do not even experience being called in for an interview.

Only 4 out of 10 people with a disability are employed in Norway. This despite the fact that many people with disabilities want a job to go to. In fact, it applies to over 100,000 people.

That these people are left out of working life is not only a loss for the individual who wants to contribute, but also for society at large and the business world, which is in dire need of labour.

Meaningful measures

In 2018, the Solberg government initiated an inclusion initiative where a rule was established that at least five per cent of new employees in the state should be people with a disability or gaps in their CV.

A simple but significant measure.

After its introduction, several hundred people with disabilities or gaps in their CV got a job as a result of the scheme. Government agencies and managers were forced to think differently in recruitment processes, and we started a long-awaited culture change in the public sector.

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It is not just about percentage targets, but that the public sector must also learn that people with a slightly different starting point can be just as good employees as anyone else.

We simply opened a path into working life for many who had not had a job or school to go to for many years. One would think it would be difficult to resist.

But then came the change of government. With a stroke of the pen in the state budget, the Støre government overturned the rule.

Voted down the proposal

The whole thing can almost seem like an accident at work. At least that’s what we hoped for. But now Høyre, KrF and Venstre have put forward proposals in the Storting to reintroduce the rule in the state, and extend it to also apply to the municipalities.

Yesterday, a united left voted down the proposal.

It is happening at the same time as the government has tightened the hiring rules, scrapped attempts with work-oriented disability benefits and cut labor market measures.

In a short space of time, the government has chosen to actively close off routes into working life, while at the same time the proportion who are completely outside is only growing. It is almost impossible to understand.

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Brenna must dare to go ahead

Labor and Inclusion Minister Tonje Brenna herself stated in January that “The public sector should really be inspired by business. Now there are many sectors that say they need more people. The private sector is better than the public sector at finding these people, and including people who have previously stood on the outside of working life”.

I totally agree with her.

Business is doing a great job of including more people who are on the outside into working life.

We politicians clap and cheer every time we visit a company that has employed someone with a hole in their CV or a disability. The paradox is that the public sector does not have to take its share of the responsibility, all the while we make no demands.

We must dare to step forward if we are not to become the cause of more people with gaps in their CVs or disabilities getting into work. Then we cannot afford not to take our share of the responsibility and to close more ways into working life.

The inclusion project is the simplest and least dangerous proposal Brenna could have started with. It is difficult to understand how one can be against it.

The article is in Norwegian

Tags: Tonje Brenna Henrik Asheim accident work


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