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Norwegian trade unionism between traditionalism and modernisation



Jon Erik Dølvik

Fafo-paper 1998:09

ISSN 0804-5135


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(pdf 208 kB)

The central questions to be discussed in this paper, is: first, how the revival of centralised trade union power in Norway since the mid-1980s can be accounted for; and, second, whether this situation realistically can be expected to continue or change. Starting from the observation that Norwegian trade unionism is distinguished by an unsettled tension between traditionalism and modernism, accentuating conflicts among different trade union sections, it is suggested that the societal influence of Norwegian trade unions is likely to diminish – unless a reconfiguration of union organization and policy priorities can be agreed upon. Whether this will mean a farewell to the egalitarian legacy is unclear, but a renegotiation of the concept of justified social differences and the means to adjust relative wages appears indispensable to maintain the legitimacy of the current order.


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