Governing Norwegian Labour Party support falls as workers face cost of living crisis

Jonas Gahr Støre, Norway's Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party (Wikipedia commons)

In previous articles, we have described how the two Norwegian parties in the coalition government have lost popular mandates. The main party, the AP (Labour Party), has seen its support in Gallup polls drastically reduced. The same polls say that the Center Party (SP) is also losing its mandate, by up to 50%, which will led to a disaster for the SP in the local elections held last month.

The Norwegian Labour Party (AP) got just 21.6% of the vote compared to 38.9% in 1983. This party is heading for a crisis, especially at the next national elections in 2025. There are, as we predicted, rumblings from the broad left in the party. It has become quite apparent that  the Labour Party is not going to do anything about the high prices and cost of living. After this coming winter (of quiet discontent), will we see the trade unions stepping up to the plate? Spring 2024 will be important to the people of Norway. Will the Norwegian LO (TUC) bow down to the EU friendly/ neoliberal, coalition politics of the Norwegian Labour Party (AP) and Center Party (SP), in there, as yet, undeclared under circa 5% wage claim? Or will the trade unions force a cost of living wage claim in spite of them? One of the bigger Norwegian trade unions, Fellesforbund, at their recent congress, called on the coalition government to restrain the use of forced arbitration. This coalition government will not listen to this; what is needed is a show of workers’ power. All anti -trade union laws have to be met with full force from the trade unions and action is needed, at least initially a leaflet, email or text message telling the members what is at stake! Not just a press statement the day before action, as we’ve seen before. The union leaderships must organise a ‘warning’ general strike of one day, continuing weekly, as a start of industrial action until the employers give in.

In a shock announcement, we found out that the coalition government, led by Labour, are “considering” removing the right of some of the organized workers to early retirement. A few years ago, the Norwegian TUC negotiated that if a company had a trade union agreement, the employees were entitled to earlier (62 years), on a somewhat reduced national pension, if they wanted to. This was welcomed by workers, particularly those in physically and psychological demanding jobs. This attack by the coalition government must be challenged by the whole labour movement as it is an attack on the gains of the organised workers.

The CWI in Norway say:

  • Make the rich pay for the cost-of-living crisis!
  • The trade unions must fight the cuts and closures.
  • A massive social housing programme, to bring jobs and end homelessness.
  • The nationalisation of the top supermarket chains, democratically run by workers, unions, and the local community, to ensure everybody can eat affordably.
  • For workers to inspect the profits of the big banks – open the books!
  • Nationalise the banks and insurance companies, under democratic workers’ control and management.
  • Renationalisation of the energy industry.
  • Huge government investment at regional and municipal levels, so that all the jobs lost can be re-gained, and affordable and properly functioning public services resumed.
  • A 30-hour working week, without loss of pay.
  • Reverse government cuts at council level.
  • For workers’/trade unions’ led mass campaigns to reverse climate change.
  • Socialist change to save the environment the voters would welcome all these sorts of measures, alongside a full programme for socialist change.

 

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