Norway shared lessons from social dialogue success

' - Photo: Margrete Løbben Hanssen/Mission of Norway to the EU

Norway’s Deputy Labour Minister and leaders of Norwegian employers and trade unions discussed Nordic tripartite cooperation and efforts to increase labour market inclusion and fighting social dumping in Brussels on October 24.

More than 70 participants attended the workshop "The Norwegian Social Model – Tripartism in a changing world”, which took place at the EFTA Secretariat in Brussels on October 24.

The seminar was co-organized by the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) and the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises (NHO), and included participants from the European Commission, labour organizations and Norwegian regional offices.

Strong ties

– The labour minister meets the social partners several times a year to discuss current issues. Irrespective of which parties that holds government. We don not agree on everything, but we have a good dialogue, said Norwegian Deputy Minister for Labour Christl Kvam, in her opening remarks.

The cooperation between local and national authorities, employer organisations and trade unions – tripartite cooperation – has a long history in Norway and in the other Nordic countries. The aim is to make sure the voices from different interests are heard when it comes to labour politics, and to establish sustainable solutions.

– We have developed a relationship as equal partners. Crisis have been tackled with compromises. There has been many tests; we have not stayed out of strikes, crisis and conflicts. Yet, this has made us better to push through reforms, established new policy and created inclusive labour markets, said leader of the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO), Hans Christian Gabrielsen.

Working together with CEO Kristin Skogen Lund at Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises, they cooperate to find solutions and compromises to face challenges.

– We participate to make sure we have the same welfare system also in the future. This is why our role is so important, Skogen Lund said.

Inspiration to the EU Commission

Stefan Olsson from the European Commission said that the social dialogue definitely has been an inspiration to EU’s work on a more fair working life, for example in the current work on the European Pillar of Social Rights. He also advised the Nordics countries to be more open to ways the model could improve.  

– Nordics should not be too afraid to turn this into a European dialogue. My advice is not to be so conservative, Olsson said.