Day care employees’ strike escalates
On 17th October 2022, about 1,007 employees at day-care centres went on strike in Oslo, Østfold, Trøndelag and Vestlandet, mainly to demand a decent pension and to push for negotiations with Private Barnehagers Landsforbund’s (National Association of Private Kindergartens, PBL), the national organisation representing privately-owned day-care centres. According to Delta (Labour Organisation) and Utdanningsforbundet (the Education Union), the strikes escalated due to the PBL’s shirking of day-care centre employees’ pension rights. Reportedly, although PBL promised employees an AFP scheme (Avtalefestet pension, known as a lifetime supplement) and agreed on the protocols in 2019, 2020 and 2021, the employers’ organisation decided not to proceed with the promised scheme. On 20th October 2022, Fagforbundet, the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees (NUMGE), expressed their solidarity with PBL privately-owned day-care centre employees and joined the strike with another 1,000 members of the trade union to demand a fair pension and an urgent new pension scheme.
Following the ongoing strikes, PBL director Jørn-Tommy Schjelderup said that it was ‘’very regrettable that the unions choose to go on strike after making completely unrealistic demands.” Although ongoing strikes affected many children, parents and hundreds of kindergartens in 16 municipalities, the Union of Education Association stressed that they had no choice but to demand the same and decent pension scheme for private day-care centre employees as those in public kindergartens. After five long weeks of ongoing strikes attended by nearly 4,000 employees, on 16th November 2022, the agreement on the AFP pension scheme for PBL members’ employees was reached between PBL and NUMGE, the Education Union and Delta organisations. According to the agreement that will enter into force on 1st January 2025 at the latest, employees of private day-care centres are entitled to early retirement (at the age of 62 instead of 67) and the percentage of their incomes that they pay into their own pension plans is also reduced and that of employers will be increased to compensate. The following day, the affected kindergartens were reopened and were fully operational.