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Trade unions

©John Petter Reinertsen/Samfoto©John Petter Reinertsen/Samfoto


In the 1800s and at the beginning of the 1900s, life was difficult for many workers. The working days were long, the pay was low, and many people also worked in dangerous conditions. There was no point in complaining, because you could lose your job.

Bit by bit workers began to organise and form trade unions. They thought it would be easier to change the things they were unhappy about if a lot of them stood together. The first trade unions were founded around 1870.

Trade unions have been very important to Norwegian society. They have worked hard to ensure that we receive benefits when we are sick or unemployed. They have also worked to ensure that we get holidays from work and have shorter working days.

The most important job trade unions have today is to negotiate with employers concerning pay and other rights. These rights can include working hours and holidays, the right to on the job training, etc.

When we are a member of a trade union, we say we are organised. We pay a little of our wages to the trade union every month. This is called paying trade union dues. Today, around 60% of employees in Norway are organised.

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