Norway - Arrival of immigrants sparks new minimum wage dispute - December 31, 2015

The arrival of large numbers of immigrants has sparked a new debate on the minimum wage. Employers’ associations have renewed their call for a national minimum wage to better integrate immigrants into the labour market, arguing it could reign in exploitation and make it more difficult for employers whose workplace are not covered by collective bargaining to undercut wages. Trade unions, on the other hand, fear a national minimum wage will negatively affect their bargaining position in the standard sector-wide wage setting processes. Labour research institute Fafo highlights an additional problem for unions in negotiating wages in diverse work places, pointing out that the labour movement is nearly universally Norwegian while immigrants constitute 15% of the workforce. As such, a large immigrant labour force on minimum wage jobs would represent an even larger organising challenge for the trade unions.


For more information, please contact the editor Jan Cremers, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS) or the communications officer at the ETUI, Mariya Nikolova For previous issues of the Collective bargaining newsletter please visit You may find further information on the ETUI at, and on the AIAS at

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