onsdag 18 mai 2022

If the Bolkestein Directive is passed in the EU, it will affect Norway through the EEA Agreement. The 2005 Congress of the trade union confederation LO* demanded that Norway must make use of the option of reservation contained in the EEA Agreement between EU and EFTA, and veto this directive from being implemented in Norway.

The LO will be sending a delegation of 45 trade union officials at lower, medium and top level to take part in the Strasbourg demonstrations on February 14th.

The Trondheim resolution

At the Trondheim conference of trade unionists in late January 2006, 457 trade union representatives from differing and country-wide sectors, passed several resolutions denouncing the Bolkestein Directive. The conference also strongly denounced the Anti-communist resolution of the European parliament.
Below, we cite our abbreviated translation of the Trondheim resolution text concerning Bolkestein.

«This Directive is based on the country of origin principle.
Any provider of services who is approved in Poland or Latvia will then automatically be approved in Norway or Germany. In this way, contractual relations will be based on Polish regulations in regard to health, security, quality and wage and working conditions. Control and surveillance will be the responsibility of Polish authorities.

In the «compromise» of the EU parliament it is said that the host country will be responsible for control, but must follow the laws of the country of origin. This implies that Norwegian authorities like, for instance, the Labour Inspectorate or the Food Supervisory Body will be put in charge to ensure that Polish companies working in Norway must abide by Polish legislation! //
All rules on authorization, competence, approbation, registration etc. are initially regarded as obstacles to open competition. Each country may only sustain rules that are of «absolute public interest» and these must have EU approval.

No to minimum wages

The Posting of Workers Directive will still be in effect.
It is on the basis of this Directive that the national law on generalizing tariff accords was passed. This means that Norway still can implement minimum standards when it comes to wages, working hours and housing conditions in certain branches and districts.

But the Norwegian trade union movement is not in the least interested in having minimum wages. In many sectors this would mean that fewer workers would organize in the trade unions, and includes the risk that minimum wages become normal wages. Also, the Directive will make it practically impossible to enforce the regulations. One cannot demand that the foreign company has a single representative in our country, nor actual lists over wages, salaries and working hours or even work contracts. The Labour Inspectorate would have to apply for this information via its parallel Polish institution. In this way Norwegian wages and working conditions are squandered in order to strengthen the competitiveness of the EU.
The Directive only applies to enterprises and companies, it is unclear whether or not labour management firms are affected.

This unacceptable Directive will make an effective struggle countering social dumping impossible, and it will undermine the model in our country where rights are based on concords and agreements between the parties, and it would undermine the welfare state. A Norwegian veto is an absolute necessity.»

* The Norwegian labour force is approx 2.3 million. 1.5 million are organized in different trade unions. The LO is by far the largest trade union confederation, containg a membership of approx.  800.000.