Education Minister Tonje Brenna (Ap) is clear that the solution still lies with the parties in the long-running teachers’ strike. Nothing has come to light that can contribute to a solution, says the head of the Education Association after the meeting.
Updated less than 2 hours ago
The meeting with the Minister of Education and the parties to the teachers’ strike started at 2 p.m., and an hour and a half later they came out and met the press:
– The reports we have heard are serious, and that is why I wanted to talk to the parties, says Brenna.
Brenna says she now understands more where the parties stand.
– For me, this was a useful meeting.
However, the answer and solution still lie with the parties, according to Brenna:
– I gave a clear message that the responsibility lies with the parties. They are responsible for ending the strike. They must reach out to end the strike, says the Minister of Education.
When asked if she could stand and say about the same in two months, she replied:
– Everyone will make an effort to ensure that we have a solution in good time before 1 December.
After the meeting, national mediator Mats Wilhelm Ruland has asked for another meeting with KS and Unio, the National Association of Schools and the Lecturers’ Association on Saturday at 10.00, writes NRK.
Watch the press conference here:
The strike continues
Leader of the Education Association, Steffen Handal, says that absolutely nothing has come up in the meeting with the Minister of Knowledge that the parties were not aware of beforehand:
– I went to the meeting with the expectation that the minister would be able to contribute to a solution. But nothing has come to light that could contribute to a solution. The strike continues.
Leader Mette Walker of the Swedish National Confederation of Schools affiliated to LO has a slightly different view of the meeting:
– We had a good round around the table, the conversation was confidential, but the Minister of Knowledge seemed genuinely interested in what we had to say, according to Walker.
Negotiator in the counterpart KS, Tor Arne Gangsø, says they have signaled many ways to resolve the conflict, including a voluntary tribunal.
– We would have joined a voluntary tribunal if the parties had been willing to do so, says Gangsø.
Voluntary wage board means that the parties can, on their own initiative, agree to use the National Wage Board or set up a separate board to resolve a dispute.
Handal, for its part, explains that with the distance between the parties now, it is not relevant to have a voluntary wage board:
– People must understand that teachers are in a difficult situation. It will also be a problem for the government if a compulsory wage board is set up.
– It is almost unbelievable that teachers as a professional group will have to struggle for so many years to keep up with other people’s salary development, says Handal.
The head of by far the largest teachers’ organization says they are open to talking to the Ombudsman if the Education Association is invited to do so this weekend.
– Are you now ruling against the compulsory wage board? asks NRK
– No, we want to negotiate – and are open to inquiries from the Ombudsman, replies Handal.
Restlessness and worry
Several have advocated that the government must intervene in the strike with a compulsory wage board. In that case, it will take place following a recommendation from Brenna’s Ministry of Education, while it is Labor Minister Marte Mjøs Persen who must make the formal decision.
Persen did not participate in the meeting, VG was told by political adviser Kristoffer Hansen in the Ministry of Labor and Inclusion while the meeting was in progress.
A forced wage board can take place if there is a danger to life and health, or if there are other weighty social reasons why a strike should end.
The meeting takes place a few days after several state administrators have reported to the ministry about the consequences of the strike. Earlier on Friday, VG wrote that the State Administrator in Vestland has received direct reports of unrest and concern.
On Friday, over 8,000 teachers are on strike.
The Ombudsman had a meeting
Before the parties entered the meeting, national mediator Mats Ruland had a meeting with the Minister of Education on Friday afternoon – ahead of the Minister’s summons to the parties in the teachers’ strike.
Ruland describes the situation between the parties in the teachers’ settlement as deadlocked and that they have not given expression to changing their positions.
The Education Association announced on Friday that they will take 300 new teachers out on strike from Wednesday next week. Thus, the number of teachers on strike will increase to around 8,450 if the wage dispute is not resolved in the weekend’s mediation or by the Minister of Labor intervening with a compulsory wage board.
Several professionals, among them child psychologist and professor emeritus Willy Tore Mørch at the University of Tromsø, have advocated that the strike has such great consequences for children and young people that it should end with a compulsory wage board.
In that case, it will be the first time that a strike has been called off by the state with reference to the mental health of children and young people.