Months-long teachers’ strike over wages and training
Teachers’ strike extends over the summer
On 22nd August 2022, around 1,300 teachers went on strikemainly due to a lower salary increase compared to other employees working in the municipalities and counties in Norway and a lack of training of teachers in public schools since 2016. The strike began on a small scale in Bergen with 40 teachers earlier in June but did not have the expected impact as the school year was entering the summer holiday season. The Teacher Trade Unions stood in solidarity with the teachers and demanded higher wages. On 24th August, Steffen Handal, the president of the Union of Education said:
“We have in no way demanded a substantial salary jump, as some may have had the impression. We are striking because the teachers in the school have received a worse salary development than the other employees in the municipalities in six collective agreements in a row.”
Currently, high schools, junior high schools, elementary schools and even a few day-care centres are affected by the strikes in fourteen municipalities and ten counties in Norway. After the re-escalation of the teachers’ strike in August 2022, nearly 3,000 teachers joined the strikes for wage growth in Norway on 13th September 2022. Although these strikes affected thousands of students in public schools, the Union of Education Association stressed that such actions are necessary to ensure access to qualified teachers for students in the future. In addition, Steffen Handal, the president of the Union of Education described the seriousness of the situation, saying “We are going to continue the strike until we get a better solution in place for the teachers.” In the following weeks, the number of teachers on strike reached 8,450 without any agreement and solution between the teachers and the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS), a public employer organisation.
In connection with the ongoing strikes, a survey (available in Norwegian) that was conducted by Respons Analyze (Respons Analyses) found that 70 per cent of the respondents among the Norwegian population support the teachers’ strike. Furthermore, the survey shows that nine out of ten parents with children in school agree it is important that the teachers receive adequate trainings.