How many individuals and organisations are advocating the topic of working time reduction in your country and do you form partnerships?
I am a member of the political party Rödt and the Action Committee for Six hours day in Norway. A lot of organizations in Norway have 6 hours working day/30 hours week in their programs. One is The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) as the largest and most influential worker ́s Confederation. On their Confederation congress in 2017, this was decided regarding working hours: “New organizational forms in the workplace, new technology and policy decisions challenge the normal working day and employee participation in decisions concerning their own working hours.” The members of LO are: Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees, Norwegian Union of State and University Employees, Norwegian Union of Social Educators and Social Workers, The Electrician and IT Workers Union, Norwegian Transport Workers ́ Union. Among political parties the following support the demand.: Socialist left party, Red Party (Rødt), The Green Party. There are also several women ́s organizations that are working for 6 hours of working time: The Norwegian Association for Women ́s Rights as the oldest Woman organization in Norway, founded in 1884, Women ́s Front. (Kvinnefronten) and Feminist Group Ottar. There is also an action group for a 6 hour normal working day, founded in 2014.
What is your group`s actual proposal for the reduction of working time?
The six hours (30 hours per week) normal working day with full wage compensation. We believe this change is possible and the history proves that best. We have now started a campaign for the celebration of the Norwegian workers’ actions a 100 years ago. Inspired by the Russian revolution, workers` action groups were formed in many factories and workplaces. In April 1918 a message was sent to these workers’ groups. If 8 hours working day has not been agreed on, the workers must take the 8 hours day on May 2nd. In response to this, workers in workplaces all over Norway left work after 8 hours that day, and continued to take 8 hour days till the Parliament (Stortinget) on August 14th passed a temporary law for 8 hours day in some industries. In 1919 the law concerning the 8 hour day was introduced. However, not all workers were covered by this law, Nurses, for instance did not come under the law until 1937. On May 2. 2018 we celebrated this 100 anniversary with a demonstration in front of Stortinget (Parliament) in Oslo arranged by The Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) branch in Oslo.
Who do you encounter as opponents and what are their counterarguments?
Employer ́s associations, some of the male dominated unions and many political parties, including the Labour party. Main counterargument is that it`s too expensive.
What is the public opinion on the working time reduction in your country? Is it favourable?
The six hours working day is gaining support.
What is your next step in the campaign? And what are your short-term, medium-term and long-terms objectives?
Short-term: Inspire more trade unions to mark the 100 years anniversary of the legalization of 8 hours working day in1919. Mid- and long-term goal: ½ hour working time reduction in the next Wage Negotiations in 2020, and 2022 and reach 6 hour working day by 2024.